Telling It Like It Is Is Overrated

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People who really like Donald Trump always say the same thing.

“I like Donald Trump because he tells it like it is.”

Good. But is telling it like it is really all the qualifications one needs to become president?

One time I was walking through a church when I noticed a teacher and what appeared to be a group of kindergartners standing out in the hallway. One of those kindergartners had his eyes locked on me the entire time that it took me to walk the 30 feet or so to where he and his classmates were standing. It was hard to ignore. I couldn’t just keep on walking while some kid was staring at me. What if he wanted my autograph?

I walked up to him, patted him on the head and said, “Hey, buddy.”

His eyes were still fixed on me.

Finally, he spoke.

“You’re ugly.”

That kid told it like it is. But, under no circumstances, do I want him to be our next president.

What we need is someone who can tell it like it is but in a nice, graceful way. Almost every woman at my childhood church is qualified to be our next president.

None of them ever told me that I was ugly. They just said, “Bless your heart.”

“Bless your heart,” is southern lady talk that is loosely interpreted as, “You’re a big idiot but I’m too nice and you’re too sorry for me to tell you.” Now that’s what I call grace.

Imagine how that would work out on the world stage.

Iran: “We would like for you to give us all of your weapons and allow us to make more powerful ones for ourselves. If not, we will blow up the sun, Cobra Commander style.”

President Sunday School Teacher Lady: “Bless your heart.”

Iran: “What is this heart you speak of? And why am I crying? Here, take our weapons.”

See how that works? No bombs. No sanctions. No Donald. Just a lady saying, “Bless your heart.” And sometimes, the really good ones don’t even have to say the phrase. They can just make the Bless Your Heart Face. When done properly, it is just as effective at crushing overly-confident men.

Trust me on this.

I see that face almost every time I try to use the self-checkout line at Wal-Mart.

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Back To School Fears

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This is a weird time of year. Some people are really happy. Others are bordering on depression.

School is starting back.

My wife loves school. She works at one. I think that secretly she wants to live inside of one.

I’m the opposite. I can’t prove it but I think that my blood pressure used to go up about 20 every morning when I walked through those double doors and into my school building. I’m all for education. It’s just that some of the most difficult moments of my life were spent in school buildings.

I shouldn’t say difficult. It’s not like I had to bust rocks. I just had to find x. And let’s be honest, what’s the difference really? I’m kidding, teachers! Sort of.

If you’re a lover of all things school, congratulations. Your Super Bowl is coming up. And while you are certainly free to continue reading, this post isn’t for you.

This post is for the students, teachers and parents who are on the verge of worrying a hole into their stomach because of what is waiting for them in just a few days. This if for the tragically average student. I’m writing this for the teacher who fights back tears whenever she thinks of all the fun she had with her family this summer while wishing that that season could somehow swallow up the other three. This is for the parent who is really nervous about loosening the grip on her child even more as another school year brings her baby one step closer to adulthood. This one goes out to the home school parents that are already overwhelmed before the year even starts.

Right now, you probably feel sort of like that lion-hunting dentist that everyone is mad at. Your time to come out of hiding is approaching. And you know that it’s not going to be pretty.

Take heart.

If you are a Christian, you are never alone.

Here are a few things to remember.

1. Trust Jesus when you are scared. 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)

Fear can consume you or it can be your friend. It consumes you when you believe its lies that the future really is hopeless. It is your friend when it is nothing more than a gentle reminder to pray to the One who is in control and taking care of you. This is best done through prayer.

Be honest in your prayers.

Tell your Father what scares you.

And then remember what Jesus is doing. He is protecting you by standing guard at your heart and mind.

2. Trust Jesus when you don’t understand what to do next, 

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8 (ESV)

There’s nothing like school to remind you that you’re not as smart and independent as you think you are. There are tests that seem designed for failure. And not just the written ones that students take with number 2 pencils. Parents and teachers face their share of difficult exams too. Instead of coming on white sheets of paper, these exams come at surprising moments in the speed of life.

Your lack of understanding can lead you to apathy, despair and depression. Or it can lead you to your Father in Heaven.

When you find yourself in a situation where you do not know what to do, and you will, ask God to show you. God never promised to give you all of the answers on a test or to fill you in on all of the things the kids are doing while you’re not looking. He has promised something better. He has promised to give you his wisdom. Just ask in faith. You’ll be glad that you did.

3. Remember why you are here.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)

Your main, Divine objective is not an A in math. It is to glorify God.

You can get an A in math or raise an honor roll student or win teacher of the year and still miss the point. You were put here to glorify Jesus Christ.

Yes, it is possible to do well in school without glorifying Jesus.

However, it is impossible to fully glorify Jesus if you’re cheating, complaining or being lazy.

Maybe God didn’t design you to be scientist. That’s okay. But he did design you to glorify him. So, for the sake of Jesus Christ, do your best.

It’s Thursday.

But Monday is coming.

And this is a Monday that is perhaps more dreaded than any other.

Don’t let it be that way. Instead, know that you are not walking through those double doors and down those hallways alone.

The Sovereign Creator of the universe is with you.

And he has promised to see you through until the end.

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As The World Mourns: The Death Of Cecil The Lion

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Cecil the Lion has been killed. And it was an American dentist who did it. I’ll wait here while you cope with that devastating news.

The reaction to Cecil’s passing may be more than you expect.

Some people want to hunt down the dentist with a bow and arrow, the same weapon used to kill Cecil. Piers Morgan really took it to a new level when describing his disgust for Dr. Walter Palmer, the dentist accused of killing Cecil, who was, you’ll remember, a lion.

“If convicted, Dr Palmer now faces a prison sentence, but captivity seems way too good for him. Instead, I’d like to introduce a new sport – Big Human Hunting. I will sell tickets for $50,000 to anyone who wants to come with me and track down fat, greedy, selfish, murderous businessmen like Dr Palmer in their natural habit. We’d lure him out with bait – in his case I suggest the fresh blood of one of his victims would be very effective as it seems to turn him on so much – and once lured, we would all take a bow and fire a few arrows into his limbs to render him incapable of movement. Then we’d calmly walk over, skin him alive, cut his head from his neck, and took [sic] a bunch of photos of us all grinning inanely at his quivering flesh.”

Forgive me if I don’t share the same outrage as Mr. Morgan and the rest of the world at the passing of what was apparently the world’s favorite lion.

Forgive me if I have a hard time getting worked up over one dentist who likes to hunt big animals.

I have nothing against lions, really. It’s all the hypocrisy and unbalanced outrage that troubles me.

On the same day I heard about Cecil the Lion, yet another video was released exposing Planned Parenthood’s practice of butchering babies and selling their parts for profit. If you haven’t seen the video yet, you should. But be warned.

You’ll find it very disturbing.

Well, unless you work for the federal government.

The video shows doctors looking at the remains of aborted babies and rating what’s left based on what kind of money it will bring.

Sadly, this is the new American way. Killing babies. Selling what’s left for profit. Forcing money from the pockets of American citizens at the point of a gun to keep the whole operation going. But, somehow, the lion hunter is greedy?

The killing and selling of babies is the real tragedy.

But you wouldn’t know it by watching our elected leaders.

President Obama has begun an investigation of the group trying to expose Planned Parenthood. He has said nothing about the practice of selling baby parts. He has however found the time to convince Africans that homosexuality is the hip new way to go and that he could win again if he ran for president. I’m sure the president is very upset about Cecil the Lion. We’re all eagerly awaiting him to address the nation or at least light up the White House with the image of a lion. But nothing from him about the babies. So far.

Please forgive me in advance.

Forgive me for being rude.

But that’s what I’ll be. I know myself too well. There’s just no hiding from it.

If you pass along an article to me or share a story with me about Cecil the Lion, I’m going to roll my eyes. I may laugh. I’ll probably say something I’ll later regret.

You see, Cecil at least had a name. That baby in a dish in some cold laboratory did not. Maybe Americans would be more aware of the inhumanity of Planned Parenthood if victims of the organization had names like Julie the Accident or Scott the Unwanted Clump of Cells with Really Nice Kidneys.

Cecil was able to grow to defend himself. The baby who was wanted less than the brain stem inside of his head was not. Talk all you want about the supposed inhumanity of a bow and arrow running through a lion. It’s just no comparison to an unborn child’s battle against a government funded doctor’s vacuum cleaner.

The people upset about Cecil’s death are worried about Jericho, the new lion at the top of the food chain in Cecil’s neighborhood. They’re afraid that he will kill Cecil’s cubs in order to establish his own dominance. They wonder what can be done to stop Jericho and the laws of nature. But what about Planned Parenthood, the predator at the top of the human food chain? Will anything be done to stop their thirst for blood, livers and cash?

There are a host of laws that were established to protect Cecil. But there aren’t too many laws established to protect the nameless child who was torn from his mother’s womb. At least not in this country.

It seems that while some in our country are progressive enough to talk all sorts of violence in regards to a lion hunter, they’re still just backwards enough to condone the use of violence on the weakest of their own species for a few extra bucks.

When stories like the one about Cecil the Lion break, there is always one response that you can count on. They call hunters cowards.

But what is the proper term for, ahem, doctors who kill babies and negotiate their remains with bidders?

The word coward isn’t appropriate.

The word monster is.

And that’s a word that fits the politicians who fund and condone such practices.

The only cowards when it comes to the murder and sale of babies in our country are the ones who say nothing about it while stroking their self-righteous anger over the death of a lion.

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The Worst Thing God Could Do To You

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What is the worst thing that God could do to you?

Give you cancer?

Make you go through a bankruptcy?

Send you a letter from the IRS?

Here’s another question. Imagine how your life would look if God gave you everything you ever wanted.

You would be wildly popular. And fit. And rich.

And dead.

And maybe even in hell.

Hell, in case you are unaware, is one of only two places where popularity, fitness and wealth do not matter.

The worst thing that God could possibly ever do to you is to give you everything you’ve ever wanted. Take a moment to think about all of the bad things that have happened to you. Think about all of the bad things that have happened to family and friends that you would rather have had happen to you.

The endless nights in tiny ICU waiting rooms.

Speaking to the long line of well-meaning friends when you would really rather just be speaking to the person in the casket behind you.

The rejection.

The failure.

The heartache.

Think about all of those moments from your life. Now, think about where you would be without those moments. It’s not as pretty as you might think.

This is the part where I’m supposed to say something about your Fight Song or about whatever doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

I’m not.

The message of the Bible is not whatever doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

Instead, the Bible tells us that whatever tries to kill us reminds us of our weaknesses, not our strengths. And it tells us that sometimes what seems to make us stronger is what kills us (Proverbs 16:18). But it is in our weaknesses that we find a strength greater than we could ever possess.

The strength of Christ.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)

And the strength of Christ is something that we will never know if we’re busy merely counting our blessings, pulling ourselves up by our boot straps or singing our Fight Song.

Christians are given a simple promise from God. It’s not a promise of a new Bentley on 26-inch rims with Slow-n-Low written on the top of the tinted windshield and a tag on the front bumper that reads #TrulyBlessed. His promise is much better than that.

His promise is his presence (Matthew 1:23; 28:20).

Sometimes it’s easy to recognize the presence of God. We can be reminded of it while we sit back and look at a beautiful sunset with our family at our side.

But, too often, we miss it. Our supposed strength tends to get in the way sometimes. Thankfully, the faithful presence of our good God is not confined to sunsets on the beach.

We can know his presence in the funeral home. We can know it in the ICU waiting room. We can know it in the actual ICU room.

If God always gave us everything that we ever wanted, we would all believe that terrible lie that we can make it on our own. God sometimes sends pain our way (2 Corinthians 12:7). But that pain is never an end in itself. And it is always grace. It is grace because it points us to a strength greater than our own and a Savior greater than our possessions.

 

The worst thing that God could ever do to you is to give you everything you ever wanted.

The best thing that God could ever do for you is to give you more of himself. To make you more aware of his loving, sovereign presence. To make you more like Jesus.

Jesus.

He is the beginning of our journey. He is the heart of our journey. And he is the objective of our journey.

Sometimes that journey will lead you through beautiful beaches.

Sometimes it will lead you through the ICU.

But God’s promise is always true.

You are never alone. Jesus is with you and his power if perfect in you.

I have no idea why some people have to walk a path through hospital waiting rooms while others spend their nights enjoying moonlit beaches. I’ve been in both places. And if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t change either one.

That’s because the beach and the waiting room have something in common.

Jesus is in both places.

But sometimes he’s easier to recognize in the waiting room.

But now thus says the LORD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:1-2 (ESV)

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Psalm 51, Updated Edition

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Jesus was wrong. But just sometimes. Specifically when it comes to gay marriage. That’s what Brandon Ambrosino informed us of on Wednesday.

Who knew? The Church, and apparently Jesus, has gotten it wrong for all of these years. Thankfully, we have the Internet to help us.

Jesus never was wrong (John 14:6). Quite frequently, people are (see: Internet). And they’ll go to great lengths to make their wrongness feel right (see also: Internet, evening news, Washington D.C.). Even if it means rewriting the Bible or making their own little image of a god that is more approving of their lifestyle.

We’ve come a long way since David. You remember him, right? He sinned. He committed adultery, he abused his power and he killed a man in order to cover it all up. But rather than trying to build his identity around these sins or take his eraser and red pen to the Bible in an effort to feel better about his sin, David did something really countercultural.

He confessed his sin.

And he repented of it.

Followers of Jesus are different from everyone else. That difference doesn’t exist because we don’t sin and they do. No, what separates Christians from everyone else is what we do with our sin. Unbelievers, even the deeply religious ones, tend to build their house on their sin. It becomes the flag that they wave and the badge that they carry. Everyone else, including God, must deal accordingly.

Believers are different because they ask Jesus to tear down their house of sin. Daily. Our identity in Christ supersedes our sexual, racial or societal identity.

After being confronted with his sin, David didn’t sue Nathan the Prophet for daring to not mind his own business. No, David’s eyes were suddenly opened to the depth of his depravity.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Psalm 51:3-6 (ESV)

Sadly, today’s Psalmists sing a different song.

For I have no transgression, and my sin does not exist. God, since you are not concerned with justice and truth, you have no right to judge me. I was brought forth in iniquity. So that makes my so-called problem my parent’s fault. Or biology’s fault. Or yours. Anyone’s but mine. I delight in ignoring my inner being and I rely on the faulty wisdom of my own heart.

When David was made aware of the dangerous construction job going on in his heart, he asked God to destroy it.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:10-12 (ESV)

But why bother with a new heart when the old one feels oh so right?

My heart is pure, O God, and my spirit is strong, wild and free. Cast me not away from my passions and take not ecstasy from me. Accept my conditions for salvation, and affirm me in my sin. 

All men are created in the image of God. But Brandon Ambrosino has created a god in his own image. A god who, as he puts it, “Might someday find himself being asked to create wine at a gay wedding.”

The Bible presents a very different picture of Jesus. And it’s not a Jesus who shows up to gay weddings to turn their water into wine. Instead, it is a Jesus who condemns homosexuality and any other sin with the wine of his wrath.

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” Revelation 14:9-11 (ESV)

It’s a dangerous business, changing the Bible and the God who wrote it in order to fit your desires. And it comes with eternal consequences.

 

 

The Terribly Offensive Truth About Our Monuments

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Every American, it seems, is offended by something. It’s our new national pastime.

Each day, someone new wants to do something to Stone Mountain. Last week the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP announced that they wanted the image on the side of the mountain sandblasted off or somehow torn off and sold to the highest bidder.

This week, Michael Julian Bond, an Atlanta city councilman, has joined in on all the fun. He suggested that other famous Georgians should be added along with the image that is already there.

Some call the image of Davis, Lee and Jackson offensive. Others call it downright racist. One commenter who relocated to the south from the enlightened city of Chicago called it “backwards.”

Here’s the thing we forget about our monuments and statues. All of the men they honor are terribly flawed. All of them. Terribly.

Consider just one of those terribly flawed men.

He imprisoned thousands of citizens, clergy and journalists from his own country simply because they spoke out against his policies.

He censored communications between private citizens.

He used the military to interfere with elections.

He confiscated firearms from citizens.

He had a political opponent deported.

He said this. Read it very carefully.

“I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality; and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary.”

And, finally, you can ask any surviving members of the Santee Sioux Indians how they feel about this man and his monuments. But good luck finding any because he had a few hundred of them killed.

There appears to be quite a significant difference between Abraham Lincoln and good old Honest Abe that you learned about in school. Even still, I’m not expecting the Lincoln Memorial to be removed from Washington D.C. and sold to the highest bidder anytime soon.

Robert E. Lee was flawed. So was Honest Abe. So is your grandfather. You are too. And so am I.

Scratch deep enough through the bronze, clay, granite, plaster and mythology and, just as sure as the devil, you’ll find the dirt. It appears as though no human being can live up to the allegedly high standards we have set for our monuments.

Well, there is one human being worthy of such honor. One who lived his whole life without sin.

But we could never put up a monument devoted to him in front of the capital building.

It might offend someone.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)

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Do You Want Your Country Back?

Undated. Scanned from a negative.

What if you could somehow restore America? Imagine what that would be like.

No more crazy new laws from the Supreme Court telling churches and bakeries how to operate.

No more racial tension in your neighborhood.

No more threats and attacks from ISIS.

No more worrying about what your kids are watching on TV or learning at school.

No more locking your windows and doors at night.

Would you like that? Would you like to have things the way they used to be? What if you could have it all tomorrow, but without Jesus? Would you still take it?

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were separated from their families and forced to live in Babylon. Their new ruler did not fear God. He was more of a fan of his own god. So much so that he made a 90-foot tall statue of it and commanded everyone to bow.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not.

But they didn’t remain standing because this new god they were being told to worship was different from some other god from the good old days. They didn’t bow because this god wasn’t the God.

There are a variety of 90-foot idols that we are prone to bow and worship.

Some of them look like Nebuchadnezzar. Some of them are painted in rainbow colors. And some of them look like they were taken straight out of the good old days. The days before gay marriage and race riots and terrorist attacks. An idol doesn’t have to be mean, ugly or perverted for it to be an idol. Religious and moral idols are just as dangerous.

If you’ve grown up in the church, you know the rest of the story. Nebuchadnezzar throws the three boys into a burning fiery furnace to punish them for their refusal to bow. After carrying out the execution, the king notices something unusual. The three boys are walking around in the furnace. And they are walking around with another person. That other person was Jesus.

And then comes the most striking moment from this account.

Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. Daniel 3:26 (ESV)

The three boys were in a death chamber that was filled with fire. But they had to be told to come out. If I’m in 90 degree heat for more than an hour, I’m ready to get out of it. These boys were in a furnace and didn’t leave it until they were told to. How is that?

Because they were with Jesus.

Jesus never promised that we wouldn’t find ourselves in a burning death chamber. But he did promise that he would be with us.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew something that we too often forget. It’s better to be on death row with Jesus than to be in a palace without him.

I’d love to see America unified again.

I’d love to see the racial tension go away.

I’d love it if the terrorists left us alone for good.

And I’d love it if the Church could carry on with being the Church without interference from the State.

But not without Jesus.

Christian, if one day you lose it all and you find yourself walking through the rubble of your former country on your way to a fiery furnace, take heart.

Jesus is with you.

And he is all you need.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2 (ESV)

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A Time To Be Silent

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If I published every one of my opinions, my Facebook account would be shut down and I would be taking classes at some government sanctioned reeducation center with barbed wire on the fences.

There is a time to speak up. There is a time to share your opinion. There is a time to boldly proclaim the truth. There is a time to call a wrong what it is. There is a time to point out contradictions and corruptions. Just look outside. The opportunities to speak up are limitless. If you haven’t found anything yet, the government funded Planned Parenthood selling body parts from dead babies is a good place to start. There are plenty of times to speak and speak loudly.

But there is also a time to be silent.

A time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:7 (ESV)

The time to be silent can come even when you’re right.

It can come when those with differing opinions are making no sense at all.

It can come when the clever little thoughts inside of your head would probably shut everyone else up and expose their assumed intellectualism for the foolishness that it is.

There are things worth dying for. There are things worth speaking up for. But there are also things worth shutting up for.

Silence doesn’t always mean that you are sacrificing truth for so-called unity. It doesn’t always mean that you are a coward. Sometimes it means that your love for others outweighs your desire to prove them wrong on some secondary issue.

Words and opinions are powerful. For opinionated loud-mouths like me, it can get you a lot of attention on social media. And it can get your blog post a lot of views. But what does it profit a man if he gains the whole Internet and loses his soul (Mark 8:36)? Or the soul of the guy on the other side of the debate?

It is possible for you to win the argument and still lose. This is especially true of Christians. We can be right about a whole host of issues from the guy we voted for to the team we cheer for while at the same time being so obnoxious and arrogant about our rightness that we function more like the kid with his laser pointer directed toward the screen in the dark theater than the light that Jesus called us to be.

Debate is good. It’s part of what makes our country great. And again, there are hundreds of issues in our world where Christians should share, not just their opinion, but what the Bible says. By all means, we are to speak up.

But there are other issues that the Bible has not even come close to addressing that even good Jesus-loving Christians disagree on. Sure, these issues are important. They matter. But a lot of them will get along just fine without our voice. But if we feel the need to speak loudly on every single issue, we will be less likely to be heard when it really is time to speak up.

I’m writing this to myself. Over the past few weeks, I’ve written and deleted scores of tweets and blog posts in my head. My anger and disgust were pounding away at the invisible keyboard in my brain. The Holy Spirit kept hitting the delete button.

There are a lot of issues that I would call secondary. Who has the better team? Who would make the better president? And on and on. And it’s certainly okay to discuss these things. But as we discuss, we should be willing to walk away without having the last word. We should be more eager to see the man on the other side of our opinion remain in tact than we are with proving him wrong.

Think of how this would change the divisiveness in our country.

What would it look like if more of us said to ourselves, “Wow! That’s really not my thing but I’ll just stay quiet and keep scrolling through my news feed.” Or what if more of us said something like this? “Man, I hate that place. But the Internet doesn’t need to know about it. I’ll just stay away and stay quiet.”

Your Facebook status WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS and ending with, “Just sayin'” probably won’t change the actual issue at hand. But it will change some of your relationships. And it will change the way that others view you and the gospel you represent. And that change won’t be good.

You might need to take a social media break or just hide a few friends who have a way of setting you off.

Truth matters. Please don’t misunderstand that. I’ll say it again. There are tons of occasions for us to speak up and let our voices be heard, even if people don’t like what we say. But there are also plenty of opportunities for us to stay quiet. For Christians, the primary objectives of both our silence and our speaking up are the same.

The glory of God.

Sometimes we glorify him with a microphone and a stage and 10,000 followers. Sometimes we glorify him while biting our tongue, counting to ten and walking away.

But we never glorify him when we love being heard more than we love our neighbor.

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