Written by Jamie Davis
Colossians 4:5-6 says, "Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response to everyone."
Social media: When people hear those two words, it can either bring feelings of joy or distress. Social media can be a great way to spread awareness of something you are passionate about or even just to share about your latest meal. It can be a very enjoyable thing. But social media is also often used to spread hate. It is much easier to type something hateful on a computer screen than it is to say those same words in real life. Sometimes, it is hard to get across just how you are feeling, so you come off as angry or offended. I have seen this verse really play out in my life lately, especially when it comes to social media. I have a few Facebook friends who have very different political views than me. One friend takes great pleasure in expressing her views and challenging mine and others. This acquaintance also has other very vocal friends who have similar views to her and they aren't afraid to get involved. A lot of times, their challenges disintegrate into hateful comments. I'll be honest, their remarks can make me mad, but I always try to think, "if a non-believer saw me returning their hateful comments, what would they think about my relationship with God?" In my opinion, you are serving the other person by not getting involved in conversations like that and stooping to that level. I can't imagine that Jesus would be caught having a hateful political debate on Facebook. You are His example to the world and hopefully, others will see that there is something different about you.
When it comes to politics, people tend to get angry very quickly and turn to being mean or hateful. But is that really glorious or attractive? Or even the right response? Instead, I can choose to lift the other person up and really listen to them, no matter their differing views. It may require stepping back from the screen, cooling down, and then thinking, "She/he is God's child and He loves her/him just as much as He loves me." We are called to love everyone; I can't pick and choose.
"But he voted for _____." "But he supports ____." "Only an idiot would vote for _____." Did God stutter when He said to love everyone? As Christians, we have to set a good example of what Christ-followers are supposed to be. By serving and loving others, we are serving God. By listening to their views, we are showing the acceptance and approval of God. It is selfish to take the love and mercy that God gives you and not give the same to other people. Serving doesn'talways involve the big things, it can also just mean stepping away from a conversation that is quickly heading towards hatefulness, thereby glorifying God and honoring the other person. You never know, maybe that other person in the debate needed someone to show them that political conversations do not mean hate. Who knows? A gracious response to a heated conversation could make the difference between someone turning away or turning to God. I want to be that person who draws others to God. How about you?