I am by no means perfect or even very good at representing the nature of Jesus Christ when I am posting online – let me just confess that at the very beginning of this item. And I hope to keep it short.
But let me ask something … what is it about the posts online by Christians that makes them persuasive to you and leaves a good taste in your mouth and fragrance in your nostrils (Psalm 34:8; 2 Corinthians 2:15)?
Is it the author’s seemingly perfect knowledge of scripture? His/her mastery of biblical languages and literature? Logic which, at least on the surface, appears inarguable? An unswaying confidence in her/his correctness of interpretation? A clever and witty writing style? The boldness with which the author excoriates others who don’t agree with him/her?
Or is it something else? Maybe some things like:
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~ John 13:35
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” ~ 1 John 4:7-8
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” ~ Matthew 5:43-45
Suppose you are not a believer, and out of curiosity about Christ you are searching the ‘net and come across some posts ostensibly from His followers. What leaves the best impression with you now? About them? About Him?
I just removed one of my responses to a comment on this blog a few minutes ago. I felt that neither my response nor the comment to which it responded (which I also removed) met several key criteria in communication from Christians:
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” ~ Colossians 4:6
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” ~ Luke 14:11 / “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” ~ James 4:10 / “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” ~ 1 Peter 5:6
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” ~ Ephesians 4:31 (I don’t think Paul meant for us to get rid of it online.)
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect ….” ~ 1 Peter 3:15
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” ~ James 1:5
And those quoted above, as well.
I am not proud of my response; in fact, I apologize for it whether you saw it for the brief time it was posted or not. It’s not the first time I’ve let myself get the best of me; there have been others when this blog was truly in my own eye. I have not always been faithful with my commitment to A Prayer Before Blogging.
Clearly, we all have a long journey ahead of us on the path to becoming more like Christ. Especially me.
I would like to erase my backward steps as easily as I removed those comments, so I can move forward with fellow believers. I can’t, though. Only Jesus can do that.
And it cost Him dearly.