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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Feel the Love


Everyone enjoys warm and fuzzy feelings. Much advertising is based on them. You see a moody setting: fireplace, warm colors, people dressed in sweaters, drinking hot chocolate …. It’s especially nice this time of year! It’s cold outside, and nothing is more enticing than Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire after Jack Frost nipped at your nose.* Even if it’s never been your reality, you want that mood. Warmth, laughter, mulled cider, fruity and cinnamony smells, home and hearth.

We crave those same feelings in our relationships. You only have to scroll your favorite social media feed to see couples you know in tight embraces, looking at each other with stars in their eyes. We love it—love and appreciation, passion, warmth—the glow.

We want it for ourselves: a rosy posy always loving relationship. My perfect man. Feel the love! We want our home to be just like those commercials: two people on a fuzzy rug in front of the fireplace, sipping something warm and delicious. We want the passion.

We also crave it with God. We want to experience the ecstasies of Elijah on Mount Carmel. We desire victory in every battle, the feeling of following Miriam with our tambourine and song. We want the Holy Spirit to make us feel great. We also want every church service to so fill us that we leave satisfied to overflowing.

But, reality and what we want are two different things.

You may have gotten married in the fall or winter and sipped hot chocolate together by a roaring fire. You may have experienced some incredibly beautiful moments in your marriage. But anyone married a week or more knows that not every moment is film-worthy. There are clothes to wash, dinners to cook, and bathrooms to clean. Sneakers get stinky, and even Mr. Perfect Husband doesn’t always look so good. In fact, most days are normal life. Even in the very best, loving, beautiful marriages, about 90% of the time, both spouses are simply doing life. They are not always on passionate mountaintops. (It would be weird if they were!)

It’s the same way with our spiritual life. Oh yes, we can take gorgeous photos of our devotions, complete with steaming coffee cups, and we can sincerely enjoy our Bible and prayer. But, about 90% of the time, our learning and sharing life with God isn’t filled with warm and fuzzy feelings. About 90% of our church attendance doesn’t exactly produce an “overflowing” experience, either.

When I put my trust in the Lord for salvation, I didn’t feel anything. It wasn’t emotional at all. It was 100% real, but it wasn’t accompanied by fireworks and choruses of angels singing—that I could hear, anyway. Several years later, I remember complaining to my mother about my total lack of feeling in my Christian walk. I knew without a doubt I was saved. I knew by experience that God answered prayer. But, I told my mother it would be nice to feel something. I wanted warm and fuzzy in my spiritual journey. She explained to me that emotions and feelings really don’t matter and that Truth does. Of course, she was right.

Not long afterwards, God gave me an amazing experience as a specific answer to group prayer. It was incredible! I wasn’t alone, so I know I wasn’t making it up. It was all the emotional experience I desired and then some. Afterwards, I knew God did that for me. He let me touch the hem of His garment and actually feel something for the first time in my life. It was a holy thing that He did that evening. None of us will ever forget it, but I think He did it for me—a teen who wanted to feel Him working.

Since then, I’ve had some precious times with the Lord, but nothing like that experience. I have been moved with praise and awe, and I’m often moved to tears in thankfulness for what God has done for me. But, I’ve also learned something:

My relationship with God doesn’t depend on my feelings.

Whether or not I feel anything, God is always with me. Whether or not I have a fantastic experience, God is listening to my prayer. Whether or not I feel full to overflowing in church, God is ministering to me through the Word and fellowship with His people.

I don’t need anything else.

Roll the warm and fuzzy. We know those pictures are staged—and they represent the ten percent, at best. Feelings of ecstasy in our spiritual lives will be very rare. But God never changes. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is much better than the best of marriages: always there, always available, always listening, always loving.

_______

*"The Christmas Song," by Bob Wells and Mel Tormé.
  

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Flirting and Harassment: What to Do


It started with the Hollywood bigwig, then Westminster, and now, accusations of sexual harassment are coming out all over. Once someone has the guts to tell on these guys, victims come out of the woodwork. Seriously, some of the complaints are ludicrous. “He wrote me a compliment.” “He touched my knee.” Oh, they really happened, and they were unwanted. True. But seriously? Was this horrific?

So, what is flirting, and what is harassment? How can you tell the difference?

Let’s just talk, okay?

A man in the office compliments a woman on her appearance. She has several options in that moment. She can say, “Thank you,” with a smile—which might encourage the guy. She can also frown at him. Is any other action needed? No, I don’t think so.

Let’s pretend the man goes further with his flirtation. He makes it obvious he wants to take her out and actually asks her. The woman has the options yes or no. Does she want to date this guy? Does she not? She needs to word her answer in very clear language.

Both of these scenarios would be called flirting. I am not sure it’s terrible to compliment someone in the office. It might not be advisable, though. It’s probably best to keep to business behavior in the office. Personal lives can be conducted outside.

Any unwanted touching—any that you’re not comfortable with—should be immediately rebuffed. When the British Member of Parlaiment put his hand on the woman’s knee, she threatened to punch him in the face. Needless to say, he got the message—and he didn’t try anything with her again. It is important to immediately tell the person your opinion about the action and make it stop. If it doesn’t stop, it should be reported to the appropriate person. No one has the right to make unwanted advances.

Harassment is unwanted touching or stalking. It is inappropriate. It is usually also repeated and constant. Harassment should be rebuked and reported—every single time. The victim should go on record to her immediate authority that she does not appreciate this named person’s behavior. (Many states will help with a restraining order for any harassment that makes one feel actually threatened.)

Why does harassment go unreported (or ignored)? It’s because of fear. Usually, it’s a person in authority who picks on someone lower down the scale. The more powerful person takes advantage of an underling, and he thinks he’s invincible and entitled. This happens in almost every business. It’s not just in Hollywood!

It even happens in churches.

What should we do?
  • Keep our eyes open. Is this a threatening situation? Do we feel comfortable or uncomfortable?
  • Is this appropriate? For example, it is never appropriate for a married person to flirt. It’s not appropriate for married people even to compliment the opposite sex—unless there’s a huge age difference—and then, with caution. (For example, I might tell a child who’s all dressed up for church that he looks nice. I would not tell a middle-aged man the same thing, and I would certainly not tell a man my age anything about his appearance, unless he were my brother.)
  • If the flirtation is between two singles, it needs to be pure and sweet, not sexual in nature.
  • Any touching should be as normal between friends, and nothing more. If any unwanted touching happens, we let the other person know in clear terminology it is not appreciated. We also tell a trusted friend about what happened. If the touching is groping, we tell the authorities in the church and police.
  • It is wise to be careful about being anywhere alone with another person. This goes for same sex as well as the opposite sex. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you might be falsely accused. You also would not want to be overpowered or assaulted. Always being careful about being alone with others will help you avoid being in a situation where someone could take advantage of you.

If you work outside the home, these are some good rules for your protection:
  1. If you are married, display your spouse’s picture on your desk or at your workplace. Talk positively about your spouse often. Make sure that anyone fishing for possibilities realizes you are simply not available.
  2. If you are single, watch your own behavior. Get rid of any conscious or unconscious come-ons. Make sure you dress modestly and keep to yourself. Make sure you don’t flirt. A smile is fine. Flirting is not. Keep all relationships businesslike.
  3. Do not go into a room alone with another person, unless the door is left open. Avoid being in “hidden” places where someone might trap you. Keep out in the open always. If you feel insecure, ask a coworker to walk with you.
  4. Never have a meal one-on-one with someone of the opposite sex. It might be purely business, but it looks (and feels) like a date. Make it your business policy always to have business lunches or dinners in a threesome.
  5. You might want to invest in one of those pull alarms. If you ever feel threatened, pull the pin. 

If anything ever happens to you—groping, unwanted advances, propositions, harassment, or assault—always, always report it to the authority over you. Write down the date you do that. Make sure it gets reported! If the authority does not deal with the problem and the offender isn’t reprimanded, go higher. Go as high as you need to so that this problem is dealt with.

If you feel harassed, you can go to the police and fill out a report. If you have been assaulted in any way, fill out a police report. Any assault is a crime against your person.

One other thing: be careful what you repeat and what you believe. Anyone can accuse anyone. Make sure you know the facts. Do not spread gossip. If the case is not about you personally, it’s none of your business. Don’t be guilty of spreading news that isn’t helpful. Let the authorities deal with any subject of harassment or assault. The Apostle Paul said about some young women, And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not (1 Timothy 5:13). None of us wants to be guilty of that!

Be aware and cautious.

Jesus said, Behold, I send you forth as sheep 
in the midst of wolves:
be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 
(Matthew 10:16)





Saturday, December 2, 2017

"This is Your Life" Survey Results


A short time ago, I asked my social media friends to answer ten questions. Many of my friends are Christians. A lot are missionaries, too. But, this survey was totally anonymous, and I think the answers are very interesting. You might want to survey your friends, too. I want to thank every single person who answered my survey. It was fun to get a glimpse into your life.

Q What is your favorite warm drink?
A hot chocolate  19%
     tea  25%
     coffee  44%
     Other  13%   One participant doesn’t like warm drinks, preferring iced. Others love: cider, Crystal Lite fruit punch, raspberry tea, chai latte, and ginger honey lemon “tea.”

Q Do you express yourself best talking or writing?
A talking  48%
     writing  52%

Q Besides the Bible, what is your favorite book of all time?
A One of my friends doesn’t enjoy reading. Eight said it was very hard to pick just one book, and one said her top book keeps changing. First, the secular books that were listed: Heidi; Jumanji; The Scarlet Pimpernel; Anne of Green Gables; Little Women; Corduroy by Don Freeman (children’s book); When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit; Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage; The Complete Works of O’Henry; Pride and Prejudice (2); Shipwrecked; and Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell. Two also mentioned anything written by Louis L’Amour. Christian books mentioned: Hinds’ Feet in High Places; The Robe; Not My Will; My Utmost for His Highest; Calm My Anxious Heart by Dillow; Evidence Not Seen (2); The Shadow of the Almighty; The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (2); Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers; Explore the Book by Baxter; We All Have Faces by C. S. Lewis; The Silver Chord by Sallie Lee Bell; The Chronicles of Narnia (2); The Lord of the Rings; Love and Respect; and Hudson Taylor Biographies 1 and 2 by Taylor. Several of my friends listed favorite authors: Karen Kingsbury, Isobel Kuhn, Jane Austen, Patricia St. John, and Schaeffer (Edith or Francis?).

Q What makes you cry every time?
A a sad movie  10%
     weddings  8%
     any touching story  16%
     tragedies  6%
     when I feel something intensely  30%
     Other: One participant said it's hard for her to cry. One cries at parades. Another mentioned broken relationships and disappointments. Another said she cries when reflecting upon God’s love, goodness, and grace. She also cries when someone shows her love and when she sees answered prayers.

Q What was your hardest experience?
A death of a loved one 18%
      losing a job  0%
      a break-up (relationship, marriage) 15%
      a wayward child  15%
      experiencing abuse  5%
      my own vice(s) (gambling, drug use, pornography, alcoholism, etc.)  3%
      financial problems  3%
      Other: The responses include: rape and consequent reactions from Christian leaders and the process of recovery, a nervous breakdown, being falsely accused (2), betrayal (4), a loved one’s suicide, panic attacks with anxiety and darkness, leaving a church, the loss of a baby through miscarriage, separation from family and children (5), the hardships of living in a third world country (walking everywhere, shortage of electricity, washing clothes by hand, etc.), manipulative family members, watching parents age and not being able to care for them, and work problems.

Q What have been your greatest joys in life?
A my marriage  41%
     my children  48%
     my grandchildren 17%
     an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ 75%
     nature 16%
     feeling healthy  9%
     friendships  20%
     my home  5%
     having things around me that are comfortable and nice 3%
     my job  6%
     Other: Three people said helping others is a great joy. Two said sharing Christ. Other answers were: seeing a ministry grow, godly parents, seeing his/her students serve the Lord, being surrounded by believers, and music.

Q Do you play a musical instrument? If so, please list.
A Yes. 31%
     No. 33%
     Instruments: Twenty-seven friends play the piano, nine the flute, six the guitar, five play the clarinet, and four the violin. Three each play the accordion and recorder. Other instruments with two musicians each are: trumpet, ukulele, and dulcimer. With one each: the pan flute, autoharp, organ, cello, banjo, mandolin, saxophone, modern psaltery, tin and penny whistles, the taishogoto (a Japanese stringed instrument), and the vibraharp.

Q Do you (Did you) play sports?
A. No, not at all.  44%
       Of those that play sports, these are are named. (The numbers of participants are after each one.) Volleyball (10), running (4), swimming (5), basketball (3), softball (6), cheerleader (2), gymnastics (4), tennis (4), biking (3), badminton (2), athletics (2), soccer (2), and one each for: hockey, ice skating, table tennis, aerobics, and drill team.

Q What has been your best life lesson?
A Note: those that are worded almost exactly the same are grouped together. I’m putting a number after those to indicate how many people said the same thing.
  • God is my Heavenly Father. He sent Jesus to make me His beloved daughter rather than a slave. As such, prayer is actually talking with my all-wise, loving, and powerful Father, and He listens and responds. He heals me when I forgive from my heart and trust Him for perfect justice.
  • Learning to be flexible and content. Learning the world does not revolve around me.
  • It's a choice of will ... what you do with the life you've been dealt.
  • From Psalm 46:5, 10-11. Learning that God's early is not my idea of early, but exactly in His perfect timing. Be still and watch to see how God works, because He will always get the glory. As a result, others will see God's work in my life and the experience may be used to draw them to God. The LORD of hosts is always with me. The God of Jacob is my refuge. Joy and strength comes from my walk with the Lord, not others and trying to live in the box others or myself think I need to live in. No matter what happens, He is there and teaching me through it all. All that I learn and go through can be used to help and encourage others.
  • God is faithful and to not be afraid to share the gospel. (2)
  • As a missionary, the only real constant in our lives is God and our immediate family. Often all we've had is God and each other, but those are the things that matter most.
  • Know your Bible and follow what Jesus says. It is so much better than living by whatever moral compass pops up and living for self.
  • Not to judge people
  • No one can steal my joy because Jesus gave it just to me as a gift from him, The only thing I have to do today is please the Lord, everything else will fall into line.
  • That I need to ask counsel of the Lord even for the smallest things. Many times, I do not do it, but it is prideful and silly not to. And also, learning to bite my tongue.
  • Learning to pray about everything and for a lot of people. I had some real prayer warriors in my life that made a difference, and I've learned from them.
  • Put your confidence in Jesus, not people. (3)
  • Listening is the best heart wound healer.
  • To relax and let God lead the way, instead of stressing over always having to make things "perfect" on my own.
  • How to value my marriage
  • Find your purpose in Christ, and fulfill it. Not a general purpose like glorify God and enjoy Him forever, but a specific purpose and calling from God. (2)
  • Allowing Christ to take control of my life.
  • My best life lesson would be to trust God with a childlike faith.
  • God has a plan for everything!
  • I need people in my life, despite relationships being hard for me.
  • Hang in there. God, in His timing will provide a way through.
  • That I can do nothing without the Lord’s help.
  • Learning that Jesus is my strongest rock throughout difficulties in my marriage. (Thankfully, they are mostly resolved now.)
  • You can’t control everything.
  • Seek first the Kingdom of God. In all your ways acknowledge Him. (2)
  • That God's way is always perfect even if it isn’t what I would have chosen.
  • It has taken me some time to realize that all people are undependable. People change; people mean well, but they are not always able to follow through; people say what they think you want to hear, whether they mean it or not; some people will do or say anything to avoid conflict. But, Jesus is always faithful; He is always dependable; He always does what is best for me. When I decided that everything I do is for Him regardless of what other people do, I became free to live each day for Him alone.
  • Take life one day at a time.
  • Never say "never." Always enjoy "the little things," because if you didn't have them they would become the "big" things! Count your blessings! "God knows," and that is all that matters.
  • My dear mother taught me so many lessons! Her motto was, "Live simply so that others can simply live!" She taught me to turn disappointments into His appointments and a flopped angel food cake into Sunshine Squares.
  • To get rid of bitterness right away.
  • Expect nothing, be grateful for everything.
  • Learning to trust God’s Word. God is always good and He will never fail.
  • God is bigger. Than what? Anything. Any problem. Any difficultly. Any hurdle. Even than any relationship here on earth. His plans are bigger. His ways are bigger. His grace is bigger.
  • Contentment.
  • I have always tended to live in anticipation of something coming. When I was little, it would be the weekend, or the next school vacation, etc. I think it is important to live in the present. Not easy to do for me, but important. "This is the day that the Lord has made." "Give us this day our daily bread." I think that's what those verses are getting at.
  • Learning to trust God completely and totally. Full surrender. (Still learning it.) (2)
  • Learning to make things right even when others don’t want to.
  • People are important. We are here to tell others about Him, so take the time to build relationships and make them important.
  • Have the right priorities.
  • Many situations seem insurmountable, unfixable, or too far gone. But God can make something beautiful out of nothing. Leaving the matter to His repairing and trusting He will provide a way gave me the peace I had searched for. I learned that my job is to always stand back, let God work, and focus on handling what comes in a way that pleases Him. I answer to Him for my responses alone, not to others.
  • Patience and loneliness. Both of these were a part of my growing up. Now that we have been on the mission field for more than thirty years, where the need for patience and loneliness can sometimes be overwhelming, I think the Lord prepared me for our work here even in my childhood.
  • Best life lesson was learning to communicate for understanding and learning to ask great questions.
  • It’s not worth it to be anxious for what you can’t control. Live from day to day, and leave the rest in the hands of the Lord.

Q If you were to give one sentence of advice for the whole world to follow, what would it be?
A Note: again, I’m grouping some of these answers.
  • Listen to and yield to and believe the loving Heavenly Father Who sent His own Son for you.
  • Get the chip off of your shoulder and look for a way to serve others.
  • Raise the bar on how low a version of yourself you will accept, so your life matches your dreams—or better yet, God's dreams for you.
  • How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
  • Love God with your whole heart. Be who God created you to be to glorify Him.
  • To repent and believe in Christ, and to Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. (5)
  • The truth will make you free.
  • Live life as if there's no tomorrow.
  • Trust Christ as your Saviour and follow Him with all your heart.
  • Love God and love others.
  • Treat other people the same way you would like to be treated. (2)
  • Accept God's plan of salvation, live for Him and serve Him by being faithful.
  • Pray for people that you have a hard time with; it will better help you deal with the issues and problems.
  • The world does not revolve around you! Be kind! (2)
  • Trust Jesus Christ's death on the cross for payment of your sin and accept His gift of righteousness.
  • Stay in God's Word, listen and obey His commands.
  • Keep your eyes on Christ!
  • Be prepared for eternity by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior!
  • Jesus is enough.
  • Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life [Trust an unknown future to a known God.]; in thy presence is fullness of joy [There is joy and purpose following Christ]; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore. [Live in light of eternity.]
  • Take Jesus as your Saviour and let Him take control. (2)
  • Jesus is Lord, so turn from everything else and acknowledge Him!
  • Trust wholeheartedly in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Remember God, love him, trust him, obey him.
  • Take life one day at a time and make the best of it.
  • Don't listen to the world!!
  • Love like Christ. Also, this, too, shall pass.
  • Listen to God, listen to others, respond to God and respond to others.
  • “Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less.” General Robert E. Lee
  • Make your relationship with Jesus the best, most growing thing in your life, so that when the hard times come, you don't have to find Him. He is already there.
  • Listen to those who have gone before you.
  • “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9
  • Let go and let God.
  • Follow Christ with your whole heart
  • Trust God because He loves you unconditionally.
  • Have Faith in God! F-A-I-T-H = Forsaking All I Trust Him!
  • Marry the person God wants you to marry.
  • “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (2)
  • Trust God. For eternity, absolutely, but also in the big and seemingly not-so-big of the every day.
  • Trust God, obey God, follow God, and tell others about His Son! (2)
  • Christ, others, you: in that order.
  • Desire to know God and then follow His leading.
  • I would have a hard time choosing between, "Be good to each other" and "Shut up and listen."
  • God's way is always the best way.
  • Enjoy every moment the Lord gives you, because things could change in a split second.
  • Listen to the gospel, and weigh it in the balance against whatever your own beliefs are.
  • Jesus has all the answers.
  • Actions speak louder than words; let others see Jesus in you.
  • God’s Word is everything.
  • Submit your life to God, the Savior through His Son's death, burial and resurrection, and live your purpose to honor and glorify Him in all things.
  • Seek peace through Christ for yourself and your family first and the rest of your life will fall into place, even the hard challenging times because you can rest in His care and will.
  • You must sacrifice the good to get the great.
  • Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No government or public figure can change the heart of people.

Wasn’t this fun? I love getting to know my friends!

A nurse who answered the survey tells this story. "An elderly patient with connections knew the hospital’s CEO. She had him on speed dial and she was not shy about reporting the nurses for not meeting her every whim. She also wasn't shy about using her call light non-stop. She had turned particularly difficult since learning she had only a few months to live. All the other nurses were afraid of her. On this night she was assigned to me. She was an angry woman who wore bitterness on old face. Her body was shriveled and sunken. I could hardly make it out beneath the sheets and blankets. After midnight, I answered her call light twice. Each time, I was convicted to share the gospel with her. I ignored the conviction. Shortly after 2:00 a.m. I answered her call light again. I met her need and raced for the door. Just as I reached the handle to open the door, I was convicted again to share the gospel. I looked up into the far corner across the room over her bed. I quickly told God all the reasons why I couldn't share ... not the least of which was that the woman would complain and I would lose my job. I could lose my nursing license as well, if a complaint was filed the state board. Then I remembered Who had given me my license in the first place ... and my own faithlessness. I gave my job completely to the Lord, took a breath, and walked back over to my patient's bed. She prayed and repented .... I watched the peace of God come down upon her. I saw her face change and the bitterness leave. I told her that Jesus would always be with her and that she would never be alone again. Her soft childlike voice shocked me as she said, "You mean I will never be alone again?" "Yes," I reassured her. "You will never be alone again. Jesus says He will always be with you." The room was filled with peace. And then she told me her story. She was a Jewish child in Nazi Germany. Because she could pass as German, a Christian family took her in. Every day, she prayed for her family and for their deliverance. When the war was over, she was the only survivor in her entire family. She turned her back on God. But, God waited sixty years for her. I never saw her again. I believe I will see her someday."

What’s the most important thing in many of my friends’ lives? Their personal relationship with Jesus.

And we know that the Son of God is come,
and hath given us an understanding, 
that we may know him that is true,
and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.
This is the true God, and eternal life.
(1 John 5:20)


Get to know your friends. Ask questions. Enjoy their answers!





Monday, November 27, 2017

The Law of Kindness: Six Ways to Bless Others on Social Media


I was scrolling through my social media feed this morning, and I saw these expressions:
“Idiot!”
“Stupid!”
“He deserved that!” (a negative consequence of his actions)
“Why (some people) wish (named person) were dead.”
“Hate speech”
“(Named person) said what needed to be said.”

The Bible says that one of the characteristics of a virtuous woman is: She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness (Proverbs 31:26).

In fact, the Bible often encourages people to be kind.
  • But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil (Luke 6:35).
  • Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4a).
  • And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).

I understand why we get exasperated with others’ foolish actions and words. I do, too! It’s only normal to notice unwise acts and words and judge them. I get it. Many times, I just turn off the TV news because of the way people act.

As Christians, are we supposed to go around being less than gracious? I don’t think so. We are responsible for our reactions.

A preacher has the right to call out sin, and I believe all Christians can present what the Bible says. From time to time, I’ve written blog posts about subjects like: abortion, pornography, abuse, homosexuality, cheating, drug use, and terrorism. I try to do so in a kind way, as many people practice these sins, and the solution to every sin problem is the gospel of Christ. My purpose is always to point people to Jesus. (If you ever see otherwise in my posts or detect an unkind spirit, please call me out. I mean it.) I want people to be aware and alert and ultimately to go to the Lord for the healing of their souls. Jesus said, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

Do people sometimes act stupid? Of course. Do some people need to be called out? Yes, by those in authority to do so. Is there any excuse for hate speech? No, the Bible is against all hate speech. Should anyone ever wish another person dead? No, that’s entirely for God to decide.

I resolved years ago not to comment one way or another on certain kinds of posts. It has saved me emotionally. I can just scroll on by! A few times, someone else has tried to lead me into controversy. When I see this, I usually refrain from answering. A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1). In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise (Proverbs 10:19).

You might want to prayerfully consider your own boundaries. To what kinds of posts will you not comment? Which ones are better left alone? The flipside, of course, is: where can you be a blessing and encouragement?

What are some practical ways to sow kindness with our social media postings?
  1. Think like Philippians 4:8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true … honest, … just, … pure, … lovely, … of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
  2. Avoid unnecessary controversies. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes (2 Timothy 2:23).
  3. Post to encourage. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another (Romans 14:19).
  4. Use social media as a prayer list. Many of my friends ask for prayer for family members, themselves, and friends. I try to stop and pray for each one and write a short note to let them know I’m praying for them. This can be a great ministry. I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers (Philemon 1:4).
  5. Share Scripture. I love it when a friend adds a Scripture verse to a pretty photo. It’s great to read a Bible verse as you scroll down your newsfeed. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope (Romans 15:4).
  6. Be joyful. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:13).

There are enough negative voices on social media.

You can make a positive difference!