I am seeing a marked increase in the number of social media posts that openly decry, belittle, and condemn decisions made by our federal and provincial governments, our civic leadership, and law enforcement organizations. No, this isn’t going to be a political post; it’s going to be a concerned one.
The distressing fact is that much of the garbage-spewing I see is coming from Christians. And much of it is garbage.
Here’s the puzzle.
Part 1: My decades of church involvement were sprinkled with ideas/programs/campaigns to get people into the building, as if that feat alone would bring the unsaved into God’s presence and they’d be “set free”. I will say, the odd time it actually worked. But for the most part, the church was a private club for believers. We didn’t bother anyone and most of the time, very few outside our ranks even knew we were there. So, we went along our merry way, having our meetings and clubs and events and services, never giving much thought to our privilege to gather. There was no contingency plan.
Part 2: The year 2020 came along and with it, Covid-19. Businesses closed, workplaces reconfigured, and congregations were unable to meet in their church buildings the way they’d been accustomed. Restrictions varied from one province to another, but everyone was experiencing some degree of shutdown. Oh, the uproar! Those Christians from whom no one had ever heard a peep suddenly spoke up in outrage at the violation of their rights as Canadians. The rest of the country raised an eyebrow and shrugged, so what? And the churches wondered why they weren’t being acknowledged.
This is where pastors and church members start objecting to remind me of all they’ve done to become a valuable presence in their communities. Really? Some have, for sure. I personally know of several churches that have done, and still do the work of Jesus despite the current limitations. They’ve been so creative in their outreach and have developed ways to keep their congregations alive and growing. Is it a coincidence that the ones not spouting off negativity on social media are the churches that are growing exponentially? Nope. They are not the ones I see blasting the governments’ decisions and mandates.
I cringe when I see open criticisms of the people who are doing their best to keep our country safe during this unprecedented time. The point isn’t whether or not the restrictions are warranted. The point isn’t whether or not the medical or government officials are qualified to make decisions. And the point isn’t whether or not you agree with those decisions.
The point is that Christians in general haven’t done a very good job of loving people. We haven’t done a very good job of breaking out of our bless-me clubs to embrace the world around us. We haven’t done a very good job of representing ourselves in civic, provincial, and federal government circles.
So now – now we get angry and whine because we can’t have church as usual. Who’s going to listen? Certainly not the very authorities we’ve mostly kept ourselves separate from. And certainly not the neighbours and acquaintances to whom we’ve neglected to show love.
Do the puzzle.
Find the pieces and put them in right places. It’s not hard. Look for ways to show love to the people around you: the grocery store clerk, the mechanic who fixes your car, the neighbour who shovels your sidewalk, the kid who delivers your paper, your local government representatives. And if your church isn’t meeting right now, start a video bible study or prayer time with a few friends. Look for people to help. It doesn’t take much.
And stop complaining! You’re only hurting yourself.
I read this quote: “It’s not our job to change people, fix people, or judge people. It’s our job to love people.”
No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor. But if we love one another, God makes his permanent home in us, and we make our permanent home in him, and his love is brought to its full expression in us. 1 John 4:12 (TPT)