I’m sad. I don’t get it. Were we fighting with one another before the pandemic? That seems like a long time ago, but here in Kansas, we didn’t shut down until nearly the end of March, 2020. Not even a whole year ago, but I know the fighting has gotten worse in the past year. We have stopped listening to one another in our quest to be right. We have stopped praying for one another.
I am a Christ-follower and many of my friends, Facebook or otherwise, are as well. I’ve known some of these lovely people since I had my first child over 30 years ago. I’m blessed with a few from my high school years prior to that. They aren’t mean-spirited. Some of us had our children in private school and then home school together. We raised our children together and shared joys, sorrows, and spiritual life. So what happened?
I used to follow politics. My parents loved the Kennedys. I was a child when John, Robert, and Martin were alive and assassinated. My parents didn’t hide the news from us, and we watched the Vietnam War on network television reports. As a high schooler, my boyfriend was an avid follower of politics and, not surprisingly, grew up to be a social studies teacher. We spent hours upon hours discussing politics and the news of the times we were living in.
Once I had my own children and life became busy, I slowly left the news behind. I don’t watch a lot of tv, although I am an avid radio listener. I don’t have anyone with whom to discuss such things, and my interest waned. That all changed with the pandemic. I finished my masters degree in special education last March. While I was busy teaching remotely, I also had more free time than I’ve had in years. I started spending (too much) time on Facebook watching videos and reading reports – coronavirus, teaching tips, politics, protests, conspiracy theories. All of that plus the ability to read people’s comments.
The problem with Facebook is that it’s so anonymous. We spend all of this time “talking” with people we don’t know and don’t know us. I’m a pretty tough cookie. I know who I am in Christ, so I can let it roll off my back. I try to discuss with reason and kindness. I’ve been called all sorts of names, and I’m frankly getting weary of it all.
In my opinion, some of my Christian friends have merged their religious beliefs with their political beliefs. They have taken their admiration for a political figure to the extreme. Those same friends are the most likely to be following people that are espousing all sorts of conspiracy theories. It’s disturbing, almost frightening. It’s just so unexpected. The people on the opposite end of the spectrum are just as scary. Everyone is so sure they know the answer and that their candidate is going to save the world, or at least the United States. Only Christ has the power to save.
Acts 4: 8-14 (CEV) 8 Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and told the nation’s leaders and the elders: 9 You are questioning us today about a kind deed in which a crippled man was healed. 10 But there is something we must tell you and everyone else in Israel. This man is standing here completely well because of the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth. You put Jesus to death on a cross, but God raised him to life. 11 He is the stone that you builders thought was worthless, and now he is the most important stone of all. 12 Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone. 13 The officials were amazed to see how brave Peter and John were, and they knew that these two apostles were only ordinary men and not well educated. The officials were certain that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But they could not deny what had happened. The man who had been healed was standing there with the apostles.
What always strikes me in these verses is that the leaders noted that Peter and John weren’t anyone special. They were “ordinary” and “not well educated”, BUT they had been with Jesus. They had been learning and listening and sitting and walking with the One who saves. The One who knows us before we are born. They were noticed because of Jesus, not because of who they were as ordinary men.
This is who I want to be. I want to be someone who is known because I walk with Jesus. Am I perfect? Oh, so very far from that. I make mistakes. I take my “discussions” too far sometimes. It’s hard putting myself in the “line of fire”, and to be honest, I knowingly do that. I try to ask questions so others will look at a different perspective. I’m not sure we know how to do that anymore as a society. We are so very invested in our own world view.
I’ve set a goal for myself this year to spend more time with Him. One bonus of the pandemic is online church services. I listen to two sermons each week and have a daily evening devotional book. I’ve also gone back to listening to the Daily Audio Bible app on my phone while I get ready for my day. I’m filling my life with God’s Word to drown out the noise of our culture. I’m finding myself spending more time in prayer as well. I just removed the Facebook app from my phone. This fighting hurts our relationships, our souls, and our relationship with the One who saves.
Father, Guide us as we go through this year. Life is still changing and unsettled. Remind us that our relationship with You will enrich our relationships here on earth. We can’t change the world, but we can change how we respond and how we walk through it. Amen
Note: There are many Bible translations to choose from and many audio Bible apps. This is my favorite. I love the community and the prayers shared every day. https://dailyaudiobible.com/