A Kingdom View
I like to check in on Social Media a few times a day. (You know, normal stuff.) Looking at far-away friend’s and family’s lives, informational groups, posting stuff for projects, scrolling the news, trolling the internet for funny memes, watching a little Carpool Karaoke….normal stuff.
Two days ago I went to open Facebook and I just couldn’t do it. I sat down at the table, holding my guts like I’d been sucker punched and I said, “Babe, I can’t even. It’s making me sick.” John stopped opening mail and said, “You’re sick? What?”
I held up my smarty-smart phone. “The intrawebs are making me sick! THEY ARE MAKING ME SICK!”
Ya’ll know that I believe the world of social media can be a rough place. Comparison, perfectionism, envy and dissatisfaction, are like water slides into the Social Media Water Park. (It’s hard to avoid the slides at a Water Park.)
But that wasn’t what made me sick. It was the rage.
It was the bombardment of divisive, crude, angry speech, lacking kindness or dignity.
Listen, what’s happening online isn’t a surprise, right?
I don’t play pretend. Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes. I believe in DOING social justice. I’m not just pro-birth, I’m pro-life. Our country is hurting. Every marginalized person is hurting. People are VERY UPSET, and for good reason. We’ve got crises and giant problems exploding around us that we have to LIVE through.
Our country is imploding.
The oppressed and downtrodden are roaring for justice and my heart cries out with them. We are looking at massive disparate divides in both belief systems and in how people want the country to be governed. There are no simple answers or easy fixes!
But y’all, something changed during the 2016 Presidential Campaign in America.
Raging offense became acceptable.
First there was internal party raging. And then the parties raged against each other. And then pop icons and religious leaders started raging. And then everyone and their flipping dog looked around and said, “I guess it’s ok to behave like this.” And it became this whole, “Look how bold I am on Facebook” thing and everyone has a little camp behind them, applauding their rage and offense.
I love it when divine moments happen. One did for me, this weekend, when our pastor actually spoke about this. (I was all, "thankyajesus", cause I wasn't sure I could ever get back on the intrawebs again.) My heart resonated with what our pastor shared; more than that, his message tied right into what we’ve been talking about on Moolily.
Last week Christina blogged about how we are to live out the reality that our citizenship is in the Kingdom of Heaven, and how it is absolutely fundamentally important that we understand and experience that reality and KNOW the King.
We know that our world will increase in rage and offense until Jesus returns; we can’t be surprised at what’s happening in our culture. But guess what? The Lord's leadership is perfect. This climate is the optimal context for Jesus to grow His church in gentleness, meekness, and humility.
Our souls push against that.
We want peace. (Let’s be honest. No one wants to live through hard times.) To grow precious attributes in our lives requires surrender, sacrifice, and being generally unpopular. Maturing is hard work but friends, we are members of His Kingdom called to live out Kingdom Culture! We are called to live out the Sermon on the Mount. (Go back and read those powerful chapters in Matthew!) So, if we are called to speak up, then we are called to do it with kindness and dignity. (Whether you’re making peace at the PTO or leading a protest on the street.)
I think I am on a new journey of experiencing just why the Lord delights so much in humility.
We know that unprocessed anger leads to bitterness, which is like poison in our lives. We know what pride does. We know what happens to the world when rage is allowed to drive. (And it ISN'T social betterment, equality, or justice.)
Psalm 149:4 says, “The Lord takes pleasure in His people: He will beautify the humble.”
This is extraordinary! Jesus calls humility an incorruptible beauty. (1 Peter 3:4) Meekness is literally the ONLY virtue that Jesus declared about Himself. I mean, WHAT?! He could have said, “I am wise,” or “I am righteous,” but He didn’t. He wanted to highlight, above all other attributes, His humility, gentleness, and meekness.
What does that tell us about how we’re supposed to live and why?
Well...I know I don’t want to drown in the inflammatory language being poured down my throat like a toxic drink. Is it possible that the way that I can navigate the turbulent world I’m living in is by cultivating gentleness in my own life?
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30
I cried today when I read that. Even as rage increases around me, breeding anxiety and fear, I can REST because I trust Him. I can sleep at night because my hope is not in any structure made by man, but in the Sovereign God.
Today we all have a remarkable opportunity to be people of the Kingdom, to work out tenderness, gentleness and humility in our lives, to practice bringing our speech into alignment with Kingdom culture, even when we are misunderstood, attacked, or are standing against those who disagree with us.
Proverbs 16:32 speaks of the wisdom of one who can rule their Spirit, who can let their emotions come under the leadership of Jesus, the One who can teach us to have tenderness towards the people who mistreat us.
Today, let’s ask Him to teach us how to conduct ourselves as citizens of His kingdom, as daughters and sons of the King. Let’s not back down from His call. Let’s not accept the new normal.
It is not WHO I AM to take on a raging spirit of offense because WHO I AM is a representative of the Kingdom of God.
So I’ve got a lot of work to do, both in my own life and in my home. I’m ending my day with this prayer for all of us. “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26)
Let it be.