Friday, February 28, 2014

I Hate Facebook

I hate Facebook. In fact, I hate all public forums of social networking. They seem to be the gathering places for individuals who sit before their computers enthroned on their moral self-righteousness and who feel the urgency to disparage anyone who is not like-minded. Quite frankly, it’s been heavy on my heart for the past few days, and my spirit is really disturbed.

As for the Christian community, we are not immune or guiltless. We rant in vitriolic diatribes about those holding positions of authority in government or the latest struggling famous young person. We openly condemn those we do not know and in whose shoes we have not walked. We call groups of people evil and sinners, and in effect have deemed them hopelessly condemned to death.

Last week, one of the men in our church led us to enter into biblical accounts as though we were there. Seeing, as if frozen, the expressions on faces, the physical positions, the clothes, shoes and attitudes of those in the scenarios, and us walking around them-investigating the accounts like a detective. 

For the past few days, I’ve pictured one particular scene as religious accusers grab large, heavy stones to throw at a woman caught in adultery. She cowers as they surround her. Her clothing falls off one shoulder and she grabs at it to set it back to her neck and holds it there, face downward, eyes full of fear as she anticipates the first rock to pound her flesh, thrown from the men who shout their accusations at her. And just as one of the men extends his arm back in preparation to hurl that stone, Jesus stands between him and the woman, and looks directly into his eyes. 

Emboldened by his self-righteousness, the man says to Jesus, “This woman was caught in the act of adultery! You know what the Law says! She is to be stoned! So what do you say?” Others begin to question him as well, and he quietly stoops down, still positioned between the first accuser and the woman whose head remains down, but she has lifted her eyes to the back of Jesus’ head, wondering what he will say. 

For a moment, there is silence as Jesus, with his finger, writes something in the dirt. She cannot see what is written, and the looks on the men’s faces begins to reveal a surprised indignation. “So, Rabbi. What do you say should be done with her?” 

Jesus rises to once again to look them in the eyes and says, “He who is without sin among you cast the first stone at her.” With that, he stoops down again and writes in the dirt once more. For what seems like an eternity to the woman, nothing happens. No one moves or says a word.

“Thud.” A large stone falls from the oldest man’s hand to the ground. “Thud. Thud.” Two more fall. Then another. And another. And with each thud, a man walks away from the scene, convicted. After the last of many thuds, silence. 

Jesus stands, and the woman, still stooped to the ground looks up into his eyes. “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” 

“No, my Lord. No one!” she barely whispers in awe.

“Then I don’t condemn you either.” Jesus tells her. “Go. Sin no more.” Jesus reaches out with his right hand to help her rise, and she takes it with her left, her eyes full of wonder. Still clutching her garment, she walks away and turns to look back at him, knowing she has been saved from her sin and her wounded and broken heart has been healed. 

As I walk through this scene, I fall so in love with Jesus. He is everything I long to be. Full of wisdom. Merciful, kind, loving, gentle, and yet exacting justice in a way that cannot be escaped. And those who came in contact with him had a choice. Their hearts could be changed and made more like his, or they would become hardened, seeking self-justification. Nothing has changed. 

It’s no different today. We still accuse others, ready to hurl rocks of condemnation at them. Isn’t it time to drop our rocks? We really need to let the rocks fall from our hands. We need to walk away from the foolishness of thinking we are better than those we judge. All of us have fallen short of God’s glory. All of us deserve condemnation and death, and yet, we’ve been given the gift of mercy and grace. We are called not to judge but to be repairers of the breach, healers of the broken-hearted, those who proclaim liberty to the captives, and who open prison doors to set the captive free, to undo heavy burdens and break yokes of bondage, to share bread with the hungry and care for the poor. 

So, the next time you want to lash out at that politician because you firmly believe his decisions don’t measure up, or the next time you look on that young starlet who has fallen from your standards, instead of disparaging them in public, privately intercede for them with a heart not of condemnation with a rock in your hand, but with a heart filled with compassion. Kind of like Jesus. Right?

So What

So what would the world we live in see
And what would the world look like 
If when they looked at you and me
We looked more like You?

So what if instead of pointing out
Where we think that others fail
We did what we should and went about
Pointing them to You?

And so what if we truly understood
Our own great need for You?
That in ourselves there is no good
Except what we have in You?

Because Lord, in reality
The only difference between “them” and “me”
Is You!

The only grace that I’ve received 
That redeems me from my own deficiency
Is You!

(post script: If it were not for Facebook, I would never have had the honor and privilege to have met some of the finest humans on the planet. If you just read this and smiled, one of them is probably YOU!)



8 comments:

  1. "As I walk through this scene, I fall so in love with Jesus. He is everything I long to be."

    ...I am so there with you my friend.
    The only thing between them and me is HE!
    There, But for the GRACE ~ xoxo

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  2. Yes, yes and yes! :-) This has been on my mind....and much of the reason I've nearly removed myself from Facebook. I'm not on there much, I miss it and yet I don't. I guess I miss the sweethearts like you, my friends that are encouraging, and those that need encouraging. But, we almost can never be authentic anymore without someone blowing a fuse about something someone has said. Some of these folks (friends on friends facebook) can be so mean...and since they're not on my friend's list I can't delete them...all I can do is just ignore the posts those folks are on. It's bad when you're attacked for trying to cool a situation, or for defending someone or for showing grace or kindness. It gets real annoying waiting for the next "stone to be thrown" so lately it's been easier to just remove myself. :-( Plus....Garbage in, garbage out....so no garbage in keeps Kim M. happy...but then I miss all the loveliness that is there too...like YOU!

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    1. Would love if you followed the blog, Kim. At least we can commune here! :)

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  3. I often wonder what Jesus wrote, a phrase or perhaps a name or two? Did they drop their stones because they recognized the phrase, the name?
    I smiled- Amen

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  4. Michele, Kim, and Tonya, thank you for your words. They are an encouragement as I really exposed my heart here. I'm blessed to know you!

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  5. Our society reminds me very much of the Corinthian church. We live in comfort and it's like we've got nothing better to do than to snipe at one another and make big issues over small things. Jim S.

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  6. Thank you for this perfect reminder, Kathy. I had to share. Janet Y.

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  7. I totally agree with you Kathy. The world does enough condemning. As Christians, we shouldn't be part of that. I recently read an article about the new Son of God movie. The person was attempting to be "informative" and yes, they have the right to say what they want. After all, it's their opinion, right? But it wasn't just about the movie, other pastors got drawn into it by comparison (Rick Warren is New-Agey???). We are, as the Bible so bluntly puts it, to "speak evil of no one." Yup, that's what the Bible says. The same people who go around pointing fingers at evangelists and preachers they don't agree with must have over looked that Scripture (Titus 3:2). A friend of mine got all caught up in some anti-hype about a woman Bible teacher and decided to throw out all her teaching CD's and books because my friend felt that we was living too "large"!! The enemy LOVES stuff like this, Christians condemning Christians, or even just Christians condemning anyone. When we do that we walk right into the trap he has set.
    It makes me so sad, it really does. In the New Testament Jesus left us with 2 commandments: Love God and love each other. If we say we truly love God, then there is no room for hate, condemnation or judgement. If we want to obey Him and live for Him, then we need to love our brother. Period. That doesn't mean we love their sin, it means we don't judge, we speak the truth in love as the Spirit directs us and we live out Jesus in front of them. Have I arrived? No. But that is my heart's desire and I can honestly say I'm a work in progress (God is so wonderful to give me so many opportunities to love others, especially those I don't necessarily "like" :)
    My prayer is that we all take a good hard look at ourselves and ask God to reveal any un-lovliness in my heart towards anyone. Then spend time searching out the Scriptures on love, and ask Him to change our hearts. Thanks for your post Kathy!
    -LW

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