Christian Peer Pressure? Stopping the “pile on” mentality

Featured imageDevotional Thought of the Day
  What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.  People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works.  Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.  “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. Matthew 6:31-34 (MSG)

Paul is therefore free and independent of the favor of mortals; faith is therefore, not a form of adulation for him, but a preaching of the truth and consequently of true love. To please God—that is what makes Paul free. God must become a reality for us, too, must be more real to us—no! not just more real—than the things we can grasp, so that to please God can become for us a criterion that is also a final liberation from the question of success. “To please God” can thus become the center of our life, that which sustains and guides us. When faith experiences God as a reality and pleasing God is recognized as the sustaining and sheltering joy of our life, then faith makes us free.

The topics in the news  are volatile, there is not doubt.  

Homosexual Marriage
Planned Parenthood
Illegal Immigration

Fear over Middle East Refugees
Pre-Presidential Election Politics

But what is extremely concerning to me is how the people of od deal with such things.  We see one person come out with something that is a reaction based in anger, or froma position of fear, and we all dive on top of the comment, lke a loose football in a Superbowl.  We don’t care how hard we dive, we don’t care who gets hurt, we want our stab at the ball, at our moment in glory. Or like sharks trying to find what delicious thing is causing the blood spreading through the water. We want our position to triumph over the other.  If someone happens to quote St. Paul’s direction to love your enemy and pray for those who oppress you  – well they are just naive, or worse – they really are working for the enemy.

I sometimes think this is simply mass hysteria, a form of cyber peer pressure where we are sucked into behavior we know is wrong.  That may be too easy an explanation. I am not sure of the cause, but I have seen the damage, as Christians on both sides of fences ae struck, and strike back.  They attack, mock and assume the worst about their adversaries.  And when someone creates a meme that is full of hatred and vile attacks, whether true or not – the like button is hit, before the mind can actually see if it is compatible to Phil 4 simple standard<

Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.  Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.  Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:7-9 (MSG)

The solution to all this might be to put a time delay on all like buttons – a 10-second warning that asks us if the thing you are liking truly is Godly.  With loud warnings from the sermon on the mount flashing all over our screens.

A better option would be what is included in the quotes above, specifically, being drawn into the presence of God.  Some call it abiding in Christ Jesus, others practicing the presence of God or living the baptized life.  I usually refer to such a concept as the IR – having an intimate relationship with God.  Being so enraptured by His presence that it makes other issues pale in comparison. Being so aware of His love, His mercy, seeing Him revealed as more real as Joseph Ratzinger stated.

That awareness transforms us, as it did for Moses, and the prophets, as it did for the apostles.  It is the transformation that happens as described by Paul in 2 Cor. 3 and Romans 12.

Spend time with God my friends, ask Him to reveal Himself to you.  Let Him show you how to love those you find unlovable.  It will be an amazing journey.

Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (p. 296). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on September 16, 2015, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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