Social media has been on fire as of late with differing opinions concerning the state of our country and the decisions that are being made. Recently, a friend of mine who also happens to be a member of our church, wrote some comments that I asked her to develop into a blog post. Her thoughts reflect my own opinions and, I think, a biblical perspective. Joelle’s words are a call to all Christians to be people who put some leg work to their convictions instead of just lip service. I was challenged by her words and I hope you will be as well.
Guest post from Joelle Cole
Facebook has become a battleground for some. For others, it’s like a car accident – you don’t really want to see the carnage, but you can’t look away. I would venture to guess that this is the most divisive election our country has seen, and it’s compounded by the media and social media. What’s really sad is that Christians are right in the middle of the maylay, shouting and retorting and making comments that leave a relational wake that will be felt in the coming years. In the United States, we have the distinct privilege of having a voice in who runs our country. That said, once our voice is heard through our vote, the country is left with half of the people who agreed with the person in office and half that didn’t. Let the games begin.
In the time Christ lived, the Jewish people were ruled by the Romans. They felt oppressed. They were hurting. They were desperate for a rescuer. That’s exactly what they thought they would find in Jesus Christ. “The government would be upon his shoulders” meant to them that they would finally have a just king. Unfortunately, they found that his rule was much more complicated than that. It was a spiritual rule where He was a conduit to His Father. The Holy Spirit would then do the work to change the hearts of humans. They would take these hearts of flesh and love the world and be agents of change. They would love their neighbor as themselves. They understood the life and death power contained within their words (Proverbs 18:21) and so they followed Jesus example by speaking the truth in love.
I look back to the Old Testament and see that God never intended his people to be ruled by anyone but Himself. Sometimes God gives us over to our desires. As a result, the people had kings. Sometimes the kings were kind and just and men after God’s heart. Many times they were followed by the king’s son, who was so wicked and evil that it’s hard to believe they lived in the same household. As I consider government reform I continue to realize that even if we have the power to influence one administration, there will be another right on its heels that may be a hundred times worse. That may be the very reason Jesus never touted governmental reform – he was largely unconcerned with the government. Instead, he was in the business of reforming people’s hearts and charging them to take the gospel into the world. And that is exactly what they did. And so, this is what I’m encouraging you to do.
I look at Christ’s life and equate flipping the money changer’s tables to a present day rant on Facebook about injustice. “It isn’t right! This needs to change!” But Jesus wasn’t flipping money changers’ tables day after day. Instead, he went out and rolled up his sleeves and changed people’s lives one by one with the message of salvation found only in Him. He healed. He loved the hurting and the unlovely. He looked at people that most people looked away from. He spoke words that were a balm for the soul. He spoke difficult truths in a personal setting. He taught his disciples. And he left a relational wake that did upset some, but that transformed the world.
So today I challenge you. Stop posting on social media and start serving the causes you’re passionately shouting about online. As I scroll through just my feed alone, I see so many people wasting hours online each week posting articles and links and verbally sparring with those of differing opinions. If they reallocated those same hours to finding and serving within an organization that aids those they are trying to verbally fight for, they could change the face of their city.
I have a suspicion that many people didn’t realize that they cared about refugees as much as they do today. But now the realization has dawned. Do you know that there are refugee families arriving often right here in the Cleveland area? There are kids just like the pictures we are seeing on Facebook that fled their war-torn countries and came to Cleveland. Their moms and dads are trying to repay the small loan they were given in order to help them get started. They’re trying to find out where to shop and how to assimilate to the American culture. They’re figuring out how to find the food they would normally cook and how to find a job and how to speak English and how to enroll their children in school. They are trying to figure out how to turn on their unfamiliar thermostat and how to work an oven that isforeign to them. They need beds and sheets and towels and pots and pans. They need a friend and they need Jesus. Do you know that Building Hope in the City has a Refugee Mentor Training program that teaches people how to come alongside the families that are already finding refuge in our country?! We can’t do much right now to change presidential orders, but we CAN impact lives right here, right now.
Are you passionate about the Pro-Life movement? I’m doubtful that Facebook conversations about the Women’s March are going to do much to further your mission. However, there are multiple organizations right here in Cleveland that support women in crisis pregnancies. The Cleveland Pregnancy Center (CPC) also serves women who are dealing with post abortion trauma. If you are passionate about this because you’ve had an abortion and you know the effects, then consider serving in their HEARTS program – Healing the Effects of Abortion Related Trauma. Most people want to “Save the Baby!” Unfortunately, most moms make the decision to abort not because the baby is inconvenient, but because they have no idea how to parent, and no clue how they can make ends meet. They need caring people to walk beside them through this difficult time. Both Alternaterm and CPC come alongside these moms who make the decision to parent their child. The programs are each different, but they serve these women through pregnancy and first year of their baby’s life. They do things like setting them up with a mentor who meets with them on a regular basis and helping them earn Baby Bucks to buy the supplies they will need. They have classes on marriage, parenting, healthy eating and Bible Study. But these private non-profits need help. They need male and female mentors to meet with both moms and dads. They need people to work the childcare while the parents are in class. They need teachers for these classes. They need doctors to run the ultrasound machines. They need more than money or supplies. They need people who will give their time to build relationships and revolutionize lives.
This barely scratches the surface of non-profits that are quietly doing their work, while they pray for people to roll up their sleeves and come alongside to help. There are so many organizations in your area that will help you do exactly what God is laying on your heart. Your pastors can direct you to places that do the difficult work of transforming lives day after day. You have an amazing opportunity to be a world changer. Don’t let the government do the heavy lifting. Don’t expect governmental programs to do what WE have been commissioned to do. I’ve never seen a verse that says ‘they will know we are Christians by our many posts on Facebook about the injustices in our country’. But I do know that James clearly charges us to be doers of the word, and not just hearers. He also reminds us that faith without works is dead. So go love. Go serve. Be the hands and feet of Jesus.