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Wednesday

Facing the Hard Questions

My heart has been so heavy these past few weeks with the way media, and Facebook in particular, has been so riddled with hate. Have you noticed this? I guess we have the political campaigns to blame for forcing people into camps, so to speak, but everyone seems to be picking sides... even when there weren't "sides" to begin with.

It seems you can't have an opinion without the implication being that you disregard the other perspective. And why is this? I think it's because often, this implication is true. If you stand for one thing, the insinuation is you don't tolerate others. But going back to my posts on postmodernist binaries a few weeks ago, I want to challenge us beyond this line of thinking. I fall into it a lot. I'm sure we all do. But these opposing "sides" are so often arbitrary, aren't they? How were they constructed in the first place, and how can we move beyond them, while at the same time, retaining a firm hold on the Truth?

For starters, I think we have to know what Truth really is, and to do that, we must be in relationship with God, feeding ourselves His Word. How easy it can be to slip into a lifestyle where we simply mimic what we think God would say rather than ever asking Him ourselves. We move toward information when we should be moving toward relationship.

And I guess that's where my position stands on all the debates that have arisen lately. I have thoughts on the issues, and some of them are strong. I won't back down from telling someone my perspective if asked. But when we get to the point that we're more concerned with being right than we are with engaging relationships, I think we are on dangerous ground.

Today I really want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the ways hate and dissension have been spreading so rampantly through social media websites lately? How can we combat this while still keeping our feet set on a firm foundation? How would Jesus handle this if He were here now? I'd love to hear what you think and look forward to your thoughts!

6 comments:

  1. Preach it, sister. I loved this: "But when we get to the point that we're more concerned with being right than we are with engaging relationships, I think we are on dangerous ground."

    Here's the thing: I've got opinions. But do they really matter that much? Do I need to spill 'em all over social media and to any listening ear? Uh...no. I think that's what frustrates me the most--this apparent need running rampant to shout our thoughts on all the issues out there. Like you said, if someone asks, okay. And, yes, sometimes a girl HAS to stand up for truth. But I want to grow into a person who knows when the right time is to stand up and speak and when it's a better witness for Christ to keep my mouth shut and spend my time building someone up. Maybe the key is to always, always pray before speaking...and ask, is what I'm saying beneficial to anyone at all, or is it simply my pride asking to be fed.

    Okay, stepping off the podium now. (It's possible I just did the very thing that frustrates me--spilling my opinions on people spilling opinions. Haha!)

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    1. Such a great point, Melissa, about prayer! How often do we stop and pray before saying something? I know when I feel strongly about something, this is difficult for me to do, especially if I feel God urging me to keep my mouth shut. I want to say, "But these people need to hear why I am right!" ;) But in reality, having to be right all the time doesn't change hearts. Only God does that. I love what you said about whether or not we are doing things for the purpose of benefiting someone else, or just for our own selves. Reminds me of the verse that says "everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial." Such wisdom in that.

      Thank you for stopping by today and sharing your thoughts!

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  2. Ah, it's so hard, isn't it? People automatically think that if you disagree about something, you hate them or are discriminating against a certain group. They even say we should love because Jesus loved. But loving is not the same as tolerating behavior. Jesus loved the Pharisees as people, whose souls were lost, but he abhorred their behavior. Called it sin. Fought against injustices. Turned over the tables when people set up the temple as a way to make money, defiling it.

    But he still loved people.

    And I keep thinking about the verse, "A gentle word turns away wrath."

    We can be firm in our beliefs, but we must do it gently. We must remember that those who do not know Christ cannot possibly have the same mindset we do. How can you see when there are scales covering your eyes? So we must approach these things with compassion and not turn this into an "us vs. them" thing.

    I don't know if I've been clear or vague. I guess the overriding thing is that Jesus loved. But He also spoke the truth. And He always stood His ground.

    Hope you can make sense of some of that! :P

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    1. Such a good word, Lindsay! And we must be on the same wavelength because I almost mentioned the turning the tables passage! It's an interesting one to me, because I wonder how we retain that sort of passion for the truth and hatred of sin and compromise, while at the same time remembering the reason Jesus came in the first place. It can be so hard! Especially hard is the execution of this idea. So often, if you take a stand, you are labeled accordingly... when shouldn't Christians have the same freedoms to take a position, just as everyone else does? But at the same time, if you don't take a stand, you are often considered accepting or tolerant of something you don't support, simply because you didn't speak out against it. I think the key comes down to what you've said here... love. It's the key to so much, isn't it? This is also probably the deeper issue at stake between churches that tend toward legalism versus churches that tend toward compromise... how do we reconcile the fallen human condition with a God whose love for us is unconditional? Only by loving ourselves.... loving Him, and loving others, even as He loves us.

      And by the way, you were perfectly clear! :) Well-spoken!

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  3. Hi Ashley,
    Love your blog. It's so pretty. I have as many liberal friends as I do conservative. Because of this, I lately try to steer clear of anything that's going to tick people off. I am for sure a conservative and my lifestyle and what comes out of my mouth attests to that. I think voting your conscience is important and this is our power to back up our values. Some things are just plain wrong/evil. The point though is that only God can coonvert a stony heart to a heart of flesh. I try to intercede in my prayer closet (symbolic) and I get in trouble when I don't enter a controversial situation with the prayer, "Lord,set a guard over my mouth, and keep a watch over my lips."

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Susan, and I love what you said! Every time I have the urge spout out something, I think about how my liberal friends would react. It really makes a difference sometimes when we think about the people behind the conversations. What a great prayer you shared. Thanks for coming by!

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