Wednesday, June 3, 2020

His Words, Not Mine

I have to admit, friends. It is difficult not be sad right now. I am heartbroken over the death of George Floyd. Angry, because it should not have happened. There is simply no rationalizing or justifying it – period. My heart goes out to the Floyd family who should not be planning a funeral service right now. I am also greatly saddened by the response that has followed. I do not understand how burning down buildings, looting stores, beating up store owners, and shooting police officers, honors Mr. Floyd’s memory or offers comfort to his family.

I find it hard to be on Facebook again. When Facebook first came out in 2004, I thought, “Wow! What a great way to stay connected with family or reunite with friends we have not seen in a long time.” Hey, no one writes letters anymore, right? Soon, however, I saw Facebook devolve into a sea of superficial self-centeredness and vanity. Look at how wonderful my vacation is, or my husband/wife/kids are, see my new car, my new house, don’t you wish you were me? Teen’s discovered you could viciously bully other kids to the point of suicide in so many cases. Are you familiar with “liquid courage?” The idea that someone who was afraid to say or do something sober, suddenly felt free to express themselves in anyway they wanted once they had enough to drink. Liquid courage. Get it? Well, as social media expanded beyond Facebook with Twitter, and Instagram, I believe many adults discovered “keyboard courage.” Posting things online they would never say to someone’s face knowing it might be hurtful. Even, it breaks my heart to admit, by Christians. In too many ways, social media platforms have gone from a great way to stay connected, to little more than the bathroom wall. People vent their anger and frustration in a variety of insensitive, hurtful, and mean-spirited ways.    

It doesn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t be that way for followers of Jesus. The Bible says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Ephesians 4:29). Facebook has been a blessing during this time of quarantine. We have been able to meet for Food for Thought devotionals three times a week, pray together Monday through Friday, and gather for Bible Study all on Facebook Live. And, yet, when tragedy strikes (Covid-19 or the senseless death of George Floyd), too many seem to quickly forget what the Bible says.

At times like this is when the world needs the church the most. I know it is difficult to maintain control when we are angry, but that is when control is most important. As believers we are supposed to speak words of love, grace, mercy, reconciliation – words that heal not harm, unify not divide. I would suggest this. Print out Ephesians 4:29 and keep it right next to your computer, and then read it right before you click on “post.”

The world does not need our opinions or our politics right now. It needs our Savior. I need to share more of Him not me. His words not mine. His comfort not my rage. His love not my anger.       

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