Maybe it’s because I’ve been stuck on my sofa with a bad cold for several days or maybe the temperature of public opinion really has reached an abnormal high. Either way, my spirit really has begun to faint within me over recent national events and the feverish responses I’ve read on social media outlets.
Truthfully, it’s not just recent events that have sent me scurrying for perspective. For the duration of the recent presidential election I searched diligently for direction. When Christian author and speaker Jen Hatmaker and her husband Brandon announced their approval of homosexual marriages I read the comments on her Facebook and Twitter feeds with utter confusion. And when protesters and rioters took to the streets and the social media feeds in loud and disrespectful response to our country’s “peaceful transfer of power,” I was admittedly caught off guard.
People with platforms much, much larger than mine have surprised me with the opinions they have boldly stated and the words of shame they have inflicted on those within the body of Christ who disagree with them. I wonder if many Christians are feeling a little taken aback by the division that seems to be occurring within the body of Christ right now.I'd like to think the church is united in all things. In fact we are united in only one: Jesus. Click To Tweet
I’ve wrestled with adding my two cents. Truthfully, some tweets from Christian influencers have frustrated me so much that I’ve been quick to click on the “reply” icon. However, all but once I refrained from actually tweeting a response.
I feared that my words would be inadequate, misconstrued, tinged with anger, stumbling blocks. We’ve got enough stumbling blocks strewn throughout the floors of cyberspace already; I didn’t need to add my own.
And yet, I questioned my desire to stay silent. Was I just protecting myself? Was I chicken to lose followers and friends?
I’ve also been frustrated with the lack of sound, wise and balanced responses from those I deem reliable and mature in the faith. I’ve scoured their social media feeds and repeatedly returned to their websites, hoping to find a word of wisdom, a nugget of truth, even a loving rebuke. But I found few.
As my frustrations peeked, I felt the Lord redirecting my search for solace. Instead of looking to the older and wiser for perspective, He compelled me to be still and seek Him alone.
I have to tell you, that’s been a struggle. Twitter and Facebook and various news feeds have beckoned me with their siren songs. The more frustrated they made me, the more magnetic they became.
But in each of the instances I mentioned above in which my spirit stirred with confusion, it wasn’t until I sat quiet and still before the Lord that I began to gain some much needed understanding.
When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end.” – Psalm 73:16-17
When I sat still before the Lord, willed myself to read His Word aloud (in order to drown out the voices of confusion, feverish opinions and even reasonable sounding arguments), begged Him for wisdom and praised Him for His immutable character, my anxieties began to evaporate.
I wonder today if you have been struggling with the mayhem in the media and the criticism amidst the church. I wonder if you have also struggled to “be on the right side” when the issues have felt more complicated than some have made them out to be.
Maybe, like me, what you really want more than anything is to be wise.More than right, fair, smart, articulate, compassionate or safe...I long to be wise. Click To Tweet
Because I don’t think this is the last issue over which we will feel pulled in multiple directions by a chorus of overwhelming opinions, here are a few suggestions for navigating the issues that take over your social media feeds. When the conversation gets too loud and the words make you feel shamed instead of encouraged, confused instead of informed :
- Walk away from social media. Not forever, but long enough to again hear the still, small voice of God above the clamor. I know the magnetic pull, but fight through and shut it down.
- Immerse yourself in God’s Word. If like me you struggle with where to begin, go to the Psalms. Allow the psalmists to help you express your emotions, to remind you of God’s character and to usher you into His presence. Ask Him to direct you to truth that applies. Use your concordance and explore the full breadth of God’s Word. Linger in His Word.
- Seek the facts apart from opinion. In this social media age, we sometimes attempt to gather the facts from the posted feelings. That’s extremely unreliable. Take the time to go to the source. Scour websites for the original statement instead of a quote, the actual executive order instead of a paraphrase, the original statistics instead of the slanted misuse of them and the big picture instead of the interest group’s take.
- Engage with grace and truth as you attempt to settle on your position on the current issue and as you respond to those who agree and disagree with you. Jesus showed us God’s nature by being “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). When we try to operate out of one extreme or the other we fail every time. We, too, must respond to our world with grace and truth. That’s difficult, but necessary.
Did you notice that the first letters of those tips spell out the word “wise”? In the end, that’s what I want to be. That’s what I need to be.
Our culture has become very polarized in its opinions. More important to recognize, the church has become rather polarized, too. That breaks my heart. But God is still on His throne and He is still at work. So in the middle of the chaos and confusion, let’s be gals who seek His perspective above all.
If you’d like some help formulating your worldview in a day when even the church seems to be struggling to get on the same page, you might want to check out my Bible study The View from My Front Porch. I wrote this study a number of years ago, but the principles taught in it are timeless because the Book it turns to for perspective is timeless.