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Why I want to Quit Social Media, and Cannot.

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Devotional Thought for the Day:

1 Timothy, my child, Christ Jesus is kind, and you must let him make you strong. 2 You have often heard me teach. Now I want you to tell these same things to followers who can be trusted to tell others.
As a good soldier of Christ Jesus you must endure your share of suffering. 4 Soldiers on duty don’t work at outside jobs. They try only to please their commanding officer
. 2 Tim 2:3-4 CEV

Keep your mind on Jesus Christ! He was from the family of David and was raised from death, just as my good news says. 9 And because of this message, I am locked up in jail and treated like a criminal. But God’s good news isn’t locked in jail, 10 and so I am willing to put up with anything. Then God’s special people will be saved. They will be given eternal glory because they belong to Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:8-10 CEV

That hand which multiplied the loaves, which saved sinking Peter, which upholds afflicted saints, which crowns believers, that same hand will touch every seeking sinner, and in a moment make him clean. The love of Jesus is the source of salvation. He loves, he looks, he touches us, WE LIVE.

As I look on Facebook and Twitter this morning, I see nothing but wars. People bad mouthing each other and the candidates they support. People cashing people because of their stand on masks and viruses. People talking about how children should be educated, or that it is just a short time, their lives will adjust. People talking about conspiracies, on the right and on the left, demanding that others recognize who they believe the anti-christ is, actually is. People who claim their beliefs are being violated, that their rights are being taken away.

There are times I want to speak up… and there are times I do.

But what I want most to do, is to quit social media, to give up, to stop feeling like both sides doesn’t care about my views, they just want me to bow to theirs.

(By the way, the same thing happens within church politics as happens secular life)

When I am at that point, I need to look back at Paul’s words to Timothy. That there is going to be suffering in this life, and the church will endure a lot of it. (We actually do not, here in America compared to other places, btw!) But notice in each paragraph the same answer is given. Let Christ make you strong, let your mind stay focused on Him and His work, redeeming the world. Keep looking to to the one who created you, drew you into this new life, who is redeeming you and everything you’ve done.

It is then that we can go out into the broken world, filled, protected and guided by the Holy Spirit and tell people about the Love of God, a love so strong, so powerful that it can save me… and you. A love so strong that it can not just stand the sight and stench of us when we are broken, but also painstakingly cleanse us, heals us, and makes us His people.

Looking to Jesus we can engage social media, and deal with its brutality, with the hope that some might be saved, because we were here. And we are, the Lord is with us.

C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).

Without Love We Are Nothing, But Do We Even Know Who to Love?

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Devotional Thought of the Day:

After the LORD had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you did not speak the truth about me, the way my servant Job did. 8 Now take seven bulls and seven rams to Job and offer them as a sacrifice for yourselves. Job will pray for you, and I will answer his prayer and not disgrace you the way you deserve. You did not speak the truth about me as he did.”
9 Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar did what the LORD had told them to do, and the LORD answered Job’s prayer
. Job 42:7-9 GNT.

13 I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. 2† I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains—but if I have no love, I am nothing. 3 I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned—but if I have no love, this does me no good. 1 Cor. 13:1-3 GNT

Many men and women are experiencing more and more today serious lowliness and neglect as a result of their excessive zeal for autonomy which they inherited from modernity. But mostly they have lost the support of something that transcends them.

It is hard to communicate across Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. It is even harder to develop relationships where we love one another. Yet these odd relationships appeal to so many.

I think part of it is the illusion of safety, the idea that we can have “friends” while still being autonomos. Yet these social media platforms are more addictive and the relationships less satisfying, and more frustrating. It is so easy to write off that person who has a different outlook in regards to religion, politics, sex, etc. And because the relationship is not really a relationship (in most cases) we just unfriend, unfollow, and even block those who annoy us.

Yet we have both a great capacity and a great need to love. It is what we are created to do. To deeply care, be deeply devoted to others, so much so that reconciliation is more important than frustration. That forgiveness is an automatic response rather than a thirst for revenge. ( I do believe that “unfriending” is more often a response of revenge than anything else!)

As St. Paul indicates, without love we are nothing. Without love, nothing is beneficial. Even sacrifice is worthless, if it is not done because of love.

As I was reading these passages this morning, I wondered why Job even bothered allowing his “friends” to hang around. Their words may have been sincere, but they were wrong! (And God let them know it!) They were annoying, they were judgmental, they didn’t offer comfort and support in the midst of some pretty dark times in the life of Job. Yet, he didn’t send them away. He would argue with them, he would struggle with their “help”, but he didn’t turn his back on them

Once Job was justified, he even did something for them that was remarkable. He prayed for their healing! He prayed that they didn’t get what they deserve! They were his friends, and so he did what they needed, no matter how much they had been a pain in the ass while he was suffering.

That is the kind of love that Paul tells us makes all the difference. That is the kind of love that makes life abundant. That is the love that tells us that while there is a time for solitude, we are meant to live in fellowship, in relationships that are deep, that result in our laughing when they laugh, and sobbing when they sob. (see Romans 12)

This is the love that transcends life, that happens because we know we are loved. For it is God’s love that enables us to set aside the zeal for autonomy, to realize the emptiness of narcissism, and risk truly loving those around us.

Even those who treat us like Job’s friends and family.

We need to know that we are loved. To look at the cross, to realize the depth of sin, our sin, that Christ would take on himself. To do so, because He loves us, and therefore could look at the cross and see the joy of reconciliation that would result from that cross, from that pain. His love is infectious, the more we explore its dimensions the more we can love, the more we desire to, and the more unfollowing, unfriending and blocking doesn’t make sense. Laughing and crying with people will be our norm, for that is what happens when we love each other.

And the more we want to see people face to face, and not settle for social media interaction.

Pope Francis. (2013). A Year with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections from His Writings. (A. Rossa, Ed.) (p. 227). New York; Mahwah, NJ; Toronto, ON: Paulist Press; Novalis.

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