I read a quote recently from a county level Republican party official (who shall remain nameless) that stated:
“I don’t understand my conservative Christian friends who say violence is unacceptable. What the crap do you think the American revolution was? A game of friggin pattycake? Blood was shed and rightfully so! And Christ did not politely and kindly ask the money changers to change locations. Are you content to allow this country that our fathers fought and died for to become another banana republic?”
For starters, this gentleman may profess to be a Christian, but I can attest to you that he is no theologian nor a serious student of the Bible. How convenient to take a passage of scripture completely out of context and place it into your own current world events and conclude: “Since Jesus got angry and turned over the many changing tables in the temple, we can ‘storm the U.S. Capitol and take it over’.” What? That does not make any sense on so many levels. Yet here we are, using God’s Word to justify violence against one’s own government. I challenge you to find even one teaching of Jesus where He said this is what His followers should do.
How Did We Get Here?
I suppose you could backtrack many paths to try and figure out how we got to this point. The one I would like to explore is really a simple one…and that is the path of “sharing misinformation, untruths, or let’s just call them what they are… ‘lies’” via social media and other methods.
When we are irresponsible with information we hear or read, especially with information that is untrue or unverified, we do tremendous harm our Christian witness. It is as if we are telling a patented lie about someone or something and as a result the unbeliever processes that “dubious” information that we have passed along as something coming from an “ignorant Christian.” You may disagree, but I promise you, if within your circle of friends, you have those who disagree with you politically, culturally, and religiously, you will hear them refer to Christians in this manner.
The Simple Solution
Before you spread something that you have heard or seen, ask yourself a couple of questions:
- Do I know absolutely for certain that this is true?
- If I share this, how does it promote the Gospel of the Kingdom?
Also, honestly answer this question: Which am I sharing more often…information that I have heard concerning current events and political posts, or am I sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom?
If you conflate sharing conspiracy theories of the “evil” in the world and the politicians behind the evil, with sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom, then you completely misunderstand what Jesus taught and what the Gospel of the Kingdom is all about.
In Jesus’ last words to His disciples, He instructed them to be “witnesses” of Him. A witness tells what they know to be true. Not maybe, not hearsay, not could be, but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Even the Apostle John only spoke of what he knew to be true: “We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
John was certain of what he was sharing and telling and posting on Facebook! (JK the Facebook) However today, many, including Christians, are sharing information that may be true and may not be true. They are copying and pasting something that they themselves cannot verify. I see post after post on social media of things that sound like they could be true, but are they? You see, half-truths are often told to skew an argument to one’s favor.
As a believer we should be anchored to the truth. Not some cockeyed conspiracy that the veracity of which cannot be confirmed and is likely a big lie that is being spread for a worldly agenda and outcome. Often these statements include the word “they.” It goes like this:
- They are planning…
- I read that they are going to…
- They said the (fill in the blank with someone you disagree with) are…
And it goes on and on. Yet, when pressed with the question: “Who is they?” the person will have no answer. As President Lincoln said: “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet!”
Jesus is a message of truth and hope. The Gospel of the Kingdom is something we can hitch our wagon to and know it is going to last. It is going to take us where we should go. This other stuff is a message of lies and fear and if we hitch our wagon to the lies and the conspiracies, we will end up in a place devoid of the Gospel.