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Judgment, Discernment, and Social Media Bangwagons

I’ve got pretty good aim for a mature woman.  I can hit the bull of a dart board, rim a few shots in basketball, and sink a watermelon rind into a tall kitchen trash can with amazing accuracy. I can also throw a stone at a sibling in Christ striking at the heart and hurting a soul. Recently my aim has been to relinquish that sport.

If you have been on social media for any length of time (I’ll assume you are since you are reading this) you might have noticed a sick phenomenon occurring. Christ followers are picking up the stones that the Pharisees laid down and tossing them at one another. I expect those outside of the church to persecute us…it comes with the territory. But when the ugly comes from inside the Body, aren’t we really throwing them at Christ who bought our pardon?

I have three grown children. I vividly remember when they bickered I felt a sense of parental failure. I desired for them to love one another, to respect one another, and to be kind to one another, even when they did not agree with one another.  Thankfully, as they’ve become adults, they seem to even like being with one another! If they slandered one another or spoke maliciously of one another I would be grieved as their parent.

I wonder how God, our Father, feels when His children talk trash about one another. I’ve got a clue based on what He states in His word. There are many references, but there’s no room for convoluting this one: “Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:11-12) 

As I hear whizzing rocks flying by while scrolling through Facebook posts, I’ve been saddened to see the very people who preach Christ, love for fellow man, and abundant grace become the furthest thing from that when stroking the keyboard! Suddenly it becomes okay to defame the name of one who they know nothing about. The bandwagon has arrived and they are quickly willing to take the ride to the judge-fest. My guess is that it will come back for another round after the target has been thoroughly shamed up one side and down the other. Who will it be this time? Joyce Meyer? Joseph Prince? Charles Stanley? Joel Osteen? Beth Moore? My pastor? Me?? You might be thinking, “You are judging the judgers now!” Not quite. First, I’m not naming names. Second, I belonged in this rock tossing category not too long ago until the Lord convicted me of it from His word. Third, I am bringing to light something I see clearly in scripture that God opposes, and here’s another passage that speaks volumes to this issue:  Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand…You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.  It is written:

 “As surely as live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” (Romans 14:4; 10-13) This entire chapter speaks about Jesus dying for us, to stop casting judgments on those He died for, and how we can destroy another who Jesus shed His blood for. Nothing more needs to be said, does it?  

Well, let me say a word about discernment. We are encouraged to practice biblical assessment of a situation to determine whether it is evil or good. We are to examine ourselves. We are to go to our brother [sister]. We are to take the plank out of our own eye. (I didn’t reference these…but we all know they’re in there). Discernment keeps me from evil. But ruining the name of another is evil. And just because someone is in the spotlight does not make them an automatic target.

Can we agree to leave the rock-slinging to slay giants instead of our own? Let’s ditch the bandwagon and walk in step with Jesus.

 

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Lori Travers

Lori finds the Joy of the Lord to be her strength. Born and raised an Italian Jersey girl, she has finally settled in the south as Reynolda Presbyterian church became her new home. Ministry to women, reading, writing, cooking, and anything having to do with animals are her sweet spots. Having a background in cardiac testing, she chose to stay home and raise three incredible children who are now married, and currently has 2 precious granddaughters and one faithful husband of 34 years.

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