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Posted by: Sarah Blackaby | on April 18, 2016
“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed
quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil.” – 2 Timothy 2: 23-24
Pop-culture is a fascinating phenomenon, where a cacophony of provocative ideas, mindless amusements, gratuitous filth, and unabashed fun tussle over each other like lobsters in a tank. And if pop-culture is a high-speed locomotive chugging through the heart of our culture, then the internet is the burning coal that fuels the engine. For every blockbuster movie, chart-topping book, or shocking television episode that airs, an outpouring of varied—and often heated—opinions soon follow. Such is the nature of pop-culture. A problem arises, however, when these tendencies seep into the Church and we begin acting in a similar manner toward more serious realities.
The compulsion to add immediate commentary to every trending topic, Facebook post, and disagreeable comment can have destructive results. In lieu of troubling cultural shifts, the Church is right to declare “we won’t stay silent anymore!” But let’s not forget that there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Eccles. 3:7). Christians must speak loud and clear against injustice and in defense of the voiceless, but there are other times and situations when silence speaks louder than shouting and a lack-of-words communicates clearer than any lengthy discourse.
Be careful not to mistake quantity of words for quality of speech. A hyperactive tongue is a perilous force. Knee-jerk reactions are rarely fully-formulated or elegantly stated, and are typically birthed out of emotion or anger rather than prayerful reflection. The Bible cautions: “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (Prov. 10:19). In want of that coveted “final word,” constructive discussions are often dragged into that dark abyss of resentment, name-calling, and hurt-feelings. Likewise, that Facebook comment-box can seduce even the strongest-willed person to post “just one more comment,” and when unkindness is directed toward us, its human nature to return blows instead of our other cheek.
We must be vigilant, for instead of honest dialogue about God and Truth, trenches can be dug, bombs lobbed, and bridges burned. Is it possible that in our enthusiasm to defend biblical teaching, our words and demeanor fail to resemble the very God about whom the Bible is written? Today, with prayer and humility, ask God for the wisdom to discern when to speak up and when to stay silent. An unbelieving world doesn’t need to hear every Christian opinion, but they do desperately need to encounter our Christ.
-Daniel Blackaby, Author
Posted by: Sarah Blackaby | on October 28, 2015
Social media has dramatically changed the social landscape. Friends near and far can easily stay updated on your daily life. You can post a picture of the pumpkin spice latte you just ordered and almost instantly receive comments from your mother-in-law, former soccer coach, pastor, and Great Aunt Sue.
While there are many benefits of living in a hyper-connected world, it also presents unique challenges. Everyone now has a platform, and in the immortal words of Uncle Ben (or the smart guy he plagiarized), “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Below are 5 things we should keep in mind as we embrace the wonderful world of social media:
- Don’t let a Facebook like replace action. While social media can be a great way to bring awareness to a cause or need, sharing an article or posting a status should not be an end in itself. Rather it should be a springboard to action—such as volunteering, donating, sponsoring, and especially praying.
- What goes on the Internet stays on the Internet. Just like it’s prudent to think before we speak, we should think before we post! A good rule of thumb is to avoid social media when our judgment is impaired (whether by anger, exhaustion, distraction, etc.) to avoid posting anything we will later regret.
- Spread Joy. Take inventory of the balance of positive/negative posts, comments, or articles you share. While life certainly isn’t sunshine and daisies all the time, our online presence says a lot about us. The way we present ourselves should be a reflection of Christlike love, not of a critical and pessimistic spirit.
- The “Golden Rule” applies (even in the comments sections). Online interaction can often feel removed from real life, and that can make people less inhibited to write what they would never say to someone’s face. Scroll through the comments of any YouTube video (at your own risk) and you will often find ugly exchanges. Even under funny cat videos! But we should keep Matthew 7:12 in mind, “Sowhatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” We should show respect to others online, even when we disagree.
- Find Balance. As with any other good thing, social media is best when used in moderation. With the social media world so easily accessible, it can become tempting to check our phones, laptops, or ipads all the time. But then we tend to miss what is happening around us. As the saying goes, be with the people you’re with.