So I'm seriously thinking of renaming Monday's Devotion to "God's Insistent Message". Each week when I sit down to write Monday's post, I reflect on what the Lord has laid on my heart all week. It always amazing to me how He allows me to be exposed to numerous circumstances in order to really get what He's trying to say. He must know my teacher's heart of "reflect, teach, review".
So what did He want me to really think about this week? Talking. Incessant unnecessary talking. I tend to talk a lot. A lot, a lot. Maybe that's one of the reason why love teaching so much or why I feel the need to speak my mind on my blog or even on Facebook. But what I've been seeing a lot lately is how I need to STOP talking.
My husband is not a big fan of Facebook. He thinks it's a waste of time and only encourages arguments. He will get on like once a week (mostly to check the pictures I upload), but I'm on all the time. Well, not ON, on, but it's up and I'll check it while I'm washing the dishes or cooking dinner. What I've noticed lately as we get closer to Christmas is the seemingly increased animosity towards Christians. Maybe it's the need for non-believers to justify why they celebrate the holidays. Maybe it's the need for some believers to explain what they celebrate or don't celebrate during this season. Either way, arguments tend to erupt. And, unfortunately, nonbelievers end up looking like the good guys because you have some believers doing exactly what is expected: pushing faith on others who just said they can't stand it when faith is shoved down their throats. And honestly, who doesn't?
Being a Christian doesn't mean you dress up nicely on Sunday, sing beautifully during church, make nice to people you don't speak to during the week, and then go out and eat a nice big meal at Applebee's. It's about developing a relationship with the Lord, and then sharing that relationship with others. Jesus was all about relationships. And he scandalously developed relationships with groups of people who were hated, were disgusting, who were clearly not "church folk", and with those who try to quietly make it through this world just one day at a time.
Okay, back to Facebook and talking. There are a few pages and people that I "like" on Facebook that sometimes I feel I shouldn't because they can be offensive and down right disrespectful. I decided, though, to not "pull a Christian" and completely separate myself from them. (NOTE: I am very, very careful, though, which of their posts I allow to be in my feed. There are just some people and pages that go too far...and it's not funny). What got me thinking about Christians talking too much came up when I saw a post from a page that is written by someone who is an atheist. Here's what she posted:
Just so you know: I was not raised with any kind of religion, so I don't really believe in God. Do I think it's a possibility? Maybe. There could be something out there, but who knows? I believe in everything happens for a reason, fate, destiny. If someone is sick, I don't believe prayer is going to help. I think if they're meant to get better, they will. If they're meant to die, they will. That's just how I was raised. I'm not gonna knock anyone who does believe in God or think that prayer helps. That's your belief. It's not mine. Don't try to push your beliefs on me cuz I won't be trying to push my lack there of on you. I am a good person. I did good in school. I have never done drugs. I have never been to jail. I am raising my kids to be honest, good people. That's all that matters. If I lose "likes" because of this, so be it. I don't judge you, you shouldn't judge me. I just like to laugh and get a sick kick out of making others laugh. I think there's humor in almost everything. It's no fun to take everything so literally and personally. Just laugh. That is all.
And, as you guessed, she did lose a lot of "likes" AND a huge debate broke out in her comment section. There were times I wanted to speak up. I wanted to tell her that things do matter, and that raising her kids to be good people aren't going to get her kids closer to heaven, and so on and so on outreach pamphlet type of stuff. But the Lord laid on my heart (again) that I just need to keep my mouth shut. What kept popping in my head is how Jesus was all about relationships. Sure, if I say something is that going to prove that I love the Lord. Possibly. But is that going to make her go, "Huh. Well, in that case, let me change the way I believe"? No. It's not. I don't personally know this chick. And even if she and I were emailing each other pretty regularly (which we are not), I still don't think that there would be a good time to send her a "come to Jesus" email. Look at Jesus. Those people who believed in Him were the ones he took the time to personally love. And after he ascended, look at what the Church did. They loved others in the way that mimicked Christ. When they took the time to develop relationships with others, lives were changed. Making comments on Facebook, through a text, in an email, or really any way that is not personal is not going to change people's hearts.
And that is my lesson for this week. I have to learn to love like Jesus, to see people where they are, and to develop relationships with nonbelievers where they can see the joy I get by having a relationship with my Creator. And this is a for serious lesson I am working on. My nature is to speak out. It is to let people know (by shaking them and crying out to them) their faults. And that is not the way of the Lord. It is NOT my place. My place is to "love my neighbor" right after I really learn to "love the Lord with all my heart, and all my soul and all my strength and all my mind" (Luke 10:27). As for the lady that posted the comment above, I can only pray that the Lord sends someone in her life that will show her God's love and that the Lord will soften her heart for Him.
Pray about your response to nonbelievers. Are you being abrasive? Are you being judgmental? Are you developing relationships with them where they can see Jesus through you? Are you speaking up when you should just keep your mouth shut? How are you reflecting Jesus with your words and actions? Are you?