I live in a county in Pennsylvania that has been hit hard by the coronavirus. At the present we are in a sever quarantine mode until June 4th (the date seems to be rather fluid, depending on the circumstances). There have been a good number of deaths, many people are sick and businesses are feeling the crunch of being shut down. Some of them may not survive.
The situation has divided the larger community, and even the Christian community, into two large groups (there are variations on both sides) between those who want to follow the Governor’s directions for a longer shutdown and those who want to open up the economy and allow more activity under some, as yet unspecified, guidelines.
The two sides are evident in hundreds, maybe thousands, of social media posts.
Which leads me to this: Satan can Use This! He can use the situation of Christian disagreement, even over valid issues to affect our families, our relationships, and our churches if each of us are not extremely careful.
And nothing would give him more joy.
He can use our differences of opinions to divide us.
The majority of the Facebook posts that I see are from evangelical Christians – because that is the circle that I run in. While most of them have been careful to state their case in kind, inoffensive ways, there is still the potential for offending someone.
We need to speak the truth but do it in a loving way (Ephesians 4:15).
There’s a secondary issue at play here. I realized today that even when we state our case in ways that we don’t think are offensive – we can still offend, and I have been guilty of this. Sometimes just taking the opposite side of an issue can offend people.
I know that you can’t always know how people will respond to what you say and you can’t always be responsible for how they will react to something you say or post, but we need to recognize the potential problems we can create (cf James 3:5-6!).
Sometimes we think that our responsibility is to state our thoughts on an issue, or to persuade people to our position. I don’t have a problem with anyone doing that, but we need to remember that our greater responsibility as Christians is to exert ourselves to
keep the unity of the Holy Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3). If we don’t, we will give Satan an opportunity in our lives. That’s why the Apostle Paul warns us not to give Satan a foothold in our lives (Ephesians 4:27), lest he make himself at home and destroy the unity that we should have as Christians.
Some time ago a Facebook friend posted three questions that we should ask ourselves before we say (or post) anything.
Is it Loving? Is it Kind? Is it Necessary?
It would be a good idea for us to use those three questions as guidelines before we express our next opinion.
Stay in the Word,