An Epistle to the Church on Facebook

This letter is from Dan, chosen to be a humble disciple of Christ Jesus,

 

To God’s Church on Facebook, and to all of His people on social media in all the world.

 

Grace and peace be to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

I thank God, maker of all that is and was and ever will be for all God’s holy people on Facebook. I see your posts of God’s holy Word, submitted for all the world to see, to be encouraged by, to learn and grow in all the spiritual gifts. I see that you do not grow discouraged, even when you do not get as many “likes” or “shares” as you think would be deserving of passages of Scripture.

 

But I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, be careful when you post Scripture outside its context. We all agree that John 3:16 is beautiful and glorious! God did indeed love the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish, but will have eternal life! Amen! But when you post this, do not forget in your hearts John 3:17 –that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved through Him. 

 

This is equally glorious and you would do well to remember that much of the unbelieving world struggles with condemnation and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness planted in them by our enemy, Satan. Many are those who feel they can never be forgiven because they believe their sins are too great for even God to forgive. You bear the message of hope and healing to these people. I urge you, beloved in the Lord, to make every effort to bring them all the glorious hope that is in Christ Jesus, not just a morsel –but the full banquet!

 

It is well to post the words of Christ with flowers and sunsets behind them, for these things are beautiful and good. Against such things there is no law. But do not let flowers and sunsets suffice for the substance, the glorious eternal power of the Gospel in all its fullness. Always be ready with an answer, a testimony, a heart-felt witness of what Christ has done in your life and how He saved you. Do not leave brothers and sisters with crumbs when you yourself are fed from the king’s table.

 

And do not be afraid to admit that you are sinner, or that you do not have all the answers. Fear not your weakness and your suffering for God has placed others out there in the wispy and ethereal cloud of the internet who are weak and suffering and broken just as you are. He has put all of us into such a great cloud that we might witness to one another, lift up, support, and encourage one another. This is all to the praise of His glory!

 

Never forget that your words and all you post can be seen all over the world. This is indeed a great miracle, for with it the family of God can share in its joys and sorrows as never before. And we are a family exceedingly large! From the far reaches of India where the apostle Thomas brought the Gospel so long ago, to Nepal, and Africa, and the distant islands  of the seas, and Brazil, and Guatemala and places your ancestors have never been we can see and understand how these the members of our own family in Christ live and work and struggle to survive. We can see them rejoicing and dancing and praising the LORD! 

 

In this, I hope that you come to know that the family we share in Christ looks like all the people of the earth. You have grown up seeing and believing that one’s family is made up of people whose outward appearance is much like our own, but the truth is God loves all people and He has celebrated His love of variety by creating people in many different colors and forms that His praises would arise from the earth in great variety and exceeding abundance to the glory of His power and majesty! 

 

So do not look on those who have a different appearance from you as somehow beneath you. This is sin. You know that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So there is no one better than any other.

 

Even so, He has seen fit to save us all through His son, Jesus Christ. Does He not pour out the same Holy Spirit on all who believe? Who then are you to look upon another as less than you? Did not Christ die for all? Indeed He did, so do not empty the cross of its power over all the earth and all its peoples.

 

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that Facebook carries with it a great temptation to think of the words you see from others as merely words. You are tempted as never before to respond to these words without consideration of how your own words will be perceived and what harm they could do to the soul of another. For those words do come from the heart and soul of another person made in the image of God. And do not forget that while you may able to pour out great wrath in many eloquent and powerful words upon someone and possibly even “win” (in your own mind) an argument on Facebook against someone you’ve never met, there could be thousands who see these words and make no comment at all, but have seen your callous disregard for the soul of another that your own ego may be satisfied.

 

One of the saints, a leader in the Church at Bethany, has said to the believers who follow him on Facebook, “Do not post things on Facebook that would get you punched in the face had you said them in person.” This is great wisdom and should be taken to heart at all times. 

 

In the same way, an answer given in love and mercy and grace could draw many souls to Christ without you ever knowing. So exercise restraint in all you say on Facebook and think on the eternal impact your words carry. Remember that you are an ambassador for Christ and that you will give an account of all your idle words on the day of judgement.

 

Do not post inflammatory or hateful or false things, lest you be dragged off in chains and put into Facebook jail. But do not be afraid to post the truth of God in love. If then you are put in Facebook jail, it is to His glory.

 

As for politics, you know that there is a great deal of strife and division among your countrymen. Always stand for truth and justice and mercy. Walk humbly with your God and understand that another person will never be able to comprehend, as all God’s people should,  how wide, how long, how high, and how deep is the love God in Christ Jesus when your post is literally a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire.

 

Know that God’s plan can and will prevail without you scolding, shaming, screaming righteous anger in all caps, being more holy or “woke” than thou, or in any way expressing the superiority of your opinion over the opinion of another. Please brothers and sisters, learn the difference between your opinion and God’s truth.

 

Be slow to post, careful in what you say, and consider how what you post could possibly by misunderstood. 

 

If you must post a meme, let it be something that edifies, enlightens, and encourages. Humor is good, but not if it comes at the expense of another person’s dignity or worth. 

 

I was tempted to forbid all your memes, but I have chosen to encourage grace by showing grace. I am eternally grateful that you have finally grown weary of that lady yelling and the white cat. Do not fall back into that, please.

 

Seriously. Please. 

 

Oh, and dad jokes are always okay. 

 

Did you hear the one about the guy who takes a can of wasp spray up to the counter and asks the lady, “Excuse me, ma’am, is this good for wasps?” and the lady says, “No sir. It kills them.”

 

That cracks me up.

 

Today’s Praise

Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 6:23&24 (NLT)

 

*Credit (or blame) for the inspiration for this piece goes to Pastor Tim Ogle of Litchfield, MN.  The “punched in the face” comment is attributable to Pastor Kenny Ortiz, who is originally from The City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and now resides somewhere in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Thank you to both.

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