Social media is an opportunity to take the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all believers. Perhaps better wording would be “to all who would believe.” Because of the internet, we now have a huge influential reach, making the Great Commission even more amazing. But are we doing that?
Troubling to me of late is the teeter-totter of Christian posts on social media. As we draw near to God with our lips, or in this case our posts, and honor Him with our professions of faith, there seems to be a blind spot on our screens. It’s the smudge that keeps us from seeing and understanding the other posts we share, forward, copy and paste. Perhaps it’s not quite the “speck in our eye” so much as the log that is clouding our understanding as we emotionally share things that resonate with us at the click of a button, giving very little thought to the repercussions of it.
Allow me to explain.
Pressing hard against my heart this morning is this scripture passage from Luke 4: 18-19. Jesus has come into Nazareth. It’s the Sabbath and as was His custom, He went into the synagogue. He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah, and He stood up to read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
My question is this: who are the poor Jesus is referring to here? Are they the people for whom we put money in the collection plate each Sunday? Are they the literal poor? Or could they also be the poor in spirit, those who don’t know Him?
Who are the brokehearted He wants to heal? Are they my fellow Christian who sits in the pew beside me? Could it also be the social media friend who is struggling and doesn’t know Christ?
Who are the captives and the blind? Is He referring to the people in jail or those who are physically blind? Or are they people who are held and blinded by sin?
Who are the oppressed? Is it just those in countries that don’t enjoy a democratic society? Or could it be those groups in our neighborhoods who are hated for their sexuality, their skin color, or trapped in an economic status? (Ask yourself, “Am I doing the “oppressing” of any of these populations?”)
It’s easy to read this piece of scripture and feel removed from it. It can seem like poor populations from a dusty, desert place of long ago. But if we open our eyes of understanding, we can identify the poor, the brokenhearted, those held captive, the blind and the oppressed right in front of our very eyes, not just in our sanctuaries but on our social media pages and in the news. We can also find them on the streets of our communities and in the local grocery store.
I know it is an overwhelming time. It’s an uncomfortable time. We currently have access to all of the happenings in our country and around the world, 24/7, and it’s nearly impossible to digest it all. But rather than seeing it as opportunities for our servanthood, opportunites for grace, for kingdom work, we have come to despise it. And now we have taken to publicly criticizing it.
But our never-ceasing intercessor, Christ Jesus, never told us to hide behind our religious beliefs and cast our eyes away from the least of these. He never commissioned us to separate the sheep from the goats. That’s His job.
He told us to take the gospel to all the people.
Take the gospel. That means telling people of His offer of salvation. It does not mean weaponizing scripture to elevate yourself to a holier-than-thou status. It does not mean using scripture to prove your goodness. It does not mean using your faith to look down our noses at others. Somehow, we have gotten our roles confused. We have usurped the judgment role, leaving the servanthood role in the dust.
Have we become the Pharisees of old, blinded by our piousness which we now view as the moral high ground? Are we “standing on the corners making public supplication” in our social media posts and then condemning those who aren’t leading exemplary lives? While forming our opinions about the moral decline of our nation, please do not forget that the “other” we are pointing at is a real person with real problems entrenched in real sin…just as we are. The person we are pointing at is the person Jesus Himself came to save. TO SAVE.
Let that sink it a minute.
He did not come to save just those clean cut people that make us comfortable and agree with us politically. If you are sharing things that make you feel better because they are against something, please be mindful of the ones you are condemning.
Jesus is not done saving.
His nail scarred hands and feet are as much for them as they were for you.