Over the last few days, I've wrestled around with the idea of getting off of social media altogether. Funny thing is, I've gotten off for decent amounts of time... several times. I let the drama, rudeness, and stupid bickering get to me way too often. Well, it should bother me, but it shouldn't rule me. So, I've determined that social media can be used for good. Might be few and far between that this is so, however, I want to make my presence one that can be added to that mix.
I was all but nauseous the other day when I read about 20, of the 470, comments I found on a post about a previous minister that needs some severe help. For one, seeing his mugshot plastered on Facebook right next to a Peewee Herman meme, was enough to make me angrier than I've been in a while. What made it worse? Seeing comments of laughter and making fun of such a one... by others claiming to be like Christ. Crimes are never a joke. Sin is never a laughing matter. Hurting families should never be used as an easy target. Since his name was already broadcast all over the internet in a negative way, I would like to take this time to request prayer for him and his family. While I would never mention a name to destroy, humiliate, or embarrass, I would like to use this as a way to show his family that not all of us are basking in his trouble. There are some who are praying hard for a full recovery and the news that he has come back to the Lord. I still don't feel it necessary to say his name, because not everyone who reads this blog will know whom I'm referring to, and that's for the best. But, for those who do... The former holiness preacher was one of our brothers. He got sick and desperately needs help. For several years God gave opportunities to stop the sin, but people refused to accept it as truth and pushed it under the rug. Now that it is undeniable, he needs his name cried out to Jesus pleading for mercy... not to the world asking for solely harsh judgment.
Please don't misunderstand me... I think his actions should be punished by law. This has been an ongoing thing. However, I think it looks absolutely horrid for Christian people to rally together to bring him further shame. There were a few remarks made resembling this:
"This is a courtesy for people to know, so they can keep their family members away from him. We are just doing our part."
Really? Then, please, for all of us here in Kentucky, please look up every offender that's close to us. If you're really doing this with pure morals, if you're honestly just trying to keep us safe, please... do more research. But, that's not going to happen. It gets more attention and support when people with stones gather around to throw them at one they know. Sickening. While there were quite the number of people participating in the bash-fest, there were a handful making comments that reflected wisdom and compassion. I could not have been more grateful to see comments made by the said few. Comments that reflected not excuses, but a merciful heart. Words that exhibited sorrow rather than joy. Statements that showed concern for his precious loved ones over loose ones thrown around with no consideration. Phrases that looked a lot like Christ.
As if this wasn't enough, there's been another flogging party overtaking the country this week. Because the whole family is famous, saying his name seems relevant... Josh Duggar. Yes, I'm sure we've all heard his name in a negative way or two over the last few days. I understand this is a touchy subject. He did some horrible things as a young boy. His family handled it the way they felt best, and it obviously worked for them. He was very repentant and changed his ways. His victims were forgiving and were able to move on. Yet, some carnivore human had to dig deep for years to find one flaw in one of these family members. They had to dig 13 years deep to pull out an embarrassing time for all in any way involved. I would have to bet that this has caused the victims much more shame than the shame they experienced many years ago.
Before rocks are thrown my way, and without getting too personal on the internet, let me just say I know a little bit about this kind of situation. I know people that have been involved in this kind of horrendous act. I, myself, faced some things as a young child that wasn't entirely ideal. Broadcasting the situation and exploiting the family does not always make the situation better for the one who was traumatized.
We have got to sincerely ask for wisdom in how to handle situations. It is completely fine to handle a situation as it's happening. Protect the ones you love and keep the innocent out of the hands of the guilty. Just do it right! No one is above anyone else. If the tables were turned on your family, how would you want the drama handled?
My mind is now directed to Joseph and Mary. She conceived in a most miraculous way. It's never happened before nor after this occurrence. In that time, Mary could have been killed for being pregnant while betrothed to another. But, Joseph, "being a just man, minded to put her away privily."
That is my whole point. Do what must be done. But, as a Christian, or just a decent person, handle the situations of today in the same way. I can't help but think of this quote now: "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." I pray that I always fall in the former category.
This excerpt from Scripture, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?"makes me shudder at times. It makes me cry out for wisdom and for His spirit to shine through me. It makes me realize that it is possible to be deceived. Because there is a statement that He will have to say to some... "Depart from Me, I never knew you..." A lot of us think we already have the reasoning for this passage figured out. We just know it's to those who look different than we think they should. Maybe it's to those who are a little more charismatic. But, when I try to break it down, (and, no I'm not the greatest theologian), I try to think about what knowing Jesus really looks like.
The very first thing He teaches you is humility. For, in order to become saved, you have to know you need saving. The only way this can take place is for you to realize that you need Him, that you can't be "good enough" on your own. You have to understand that you have made mistakes and only He can help you overcome them.
The next thing He shows you is the necessity of asking forgiveness. Because, once you believe in your heart, you need to confess with your mouth. You need to verbally speak that He is Lord and that you need His forgiveness.
Once that has been done, you learn an awful lot about mercy. Daily He cries out on your behalf. When you have a bad attitude and say things you regret, He is there interceding for you. When you act upon something that's been hidden in your heart, because of His grace, one simple prayer can deem you blameless in His sight. When foolishness overtakes you and humanity is all too real, He can step in and make something good happen from a horrible mess.
When you pay attention to the constant mercy He passes on to you, you start to understand His love and compassion. I know if everything I've ever done or muttered or thought came to light, I'd be humiliated and most likely rejected by some. But, Jesus, knowing it all, pulls me closer everyday. He has never turned me away. He's never condemned me for my sin. He has gently shown me how much simpler life can be, how much more free I can feel, when He leads. Think about some of the most embarrassing or shameful things you've done in your life... How did He treat you?
Again, please understand that I do feel that crimes should be punished and wrongdoings indeed produce consequences. I truly uphold justice and believe that victims should feel supported and safe. I am also smart enough to know that the world as a whole will never handle situations in the best possible way. However, I do feel that my fellow Christian believers need to sincerely and earnestly seek wisdom and advice from Him on how to handle such life-altering situations. A lot of times, it's not the victims that are screaming out in anger or bitterness... it's people that haven't faced the situation. While it is easy to let your emotions get the best of you, and while you may have the right to feel angry, remember the right that Christ has over all of us. Sure, we sometimes have to face the consequences of our actions, even after being forgiven, and that's fine. You reap what you sow. But just as He handled your errors gently, provide others the same courtesy.
We were all born with a sinful nature. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. We are equal and no one is better than another. We've all messed up severely at times. I have. You have. So has the former holiness preacher and so has Josh. While we probably all agree that their actions should be punished, we cannot rejoice in that. If a situation has stopped and everyone is okay, we need to let it go. We shouldn't push for further humiliation. Would we want someone to do that every time we mess up?
I fully understand that not all mess ups are punishable by law. They don't all have the same effect on people's lives. Every situation is completely different. That's why this post is mostly aimed toward fellow believers. Although your sin may not have ever put you in a cell, your actions very well could have destroyed someone. Maybe they patterned their life after you because of certain reasons, and your mistake obliterated their faith. Someone on the fence about Christ may have had their eyes on you and your failure helped make up their mind in a negative way. Who knows? I may have had an attitude at one point that led someone into believing Christianity just isn't what it's proclaimed to be. That thought cuts right through me. The world's view on our faith right now is all but adoring. We have to get ourselves together and really get it right. I do things daily that make me cry out, "Ugh! Why did I have to sound so immature? Why did I let them get to me like that?" I never want to feel like I've reached perfection. But, I sure want to strive for it.
This post was not written to in any way make anyone feel bad about themselves or another person. It's just a "freely shared babbling of a somewhat opinionated nice gal." I am brokenhearted. I am ready to see His people reflect Him... The Bible says over and over that He was "moved with compassion." We have got to take on that trait. It is time that the world sees how Jesus really is. He is just, yes. But He is the very meaning of the word Love... and our generation sure needs to see a lot more of that.
There's enough disturbed people that give it a bad definition. It's terrible that our land is filled with pedophiles, murderers, liars, and deceivers. Why don't we get disturbed at the lack of Jesus? Why don't we refuse to rest until people truly understand what He's about? What if we took a stand that exhibited empathy along with justice? I am disturbed. I'm ready for good to outweigh the bad again. As humble as my little voice is, I'm still going to use it to try to make this world a better place. I could really use some help.