I belong to an email group with women who are very smart and usually the conversation is controversial and intellectual and beyond me. But yesterday one of the women who I've exchanged personal emails with over the years, someone I like a lot, shared how it greatly bothered her how two of her Christian Facebook friends joined this group:
DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA.
Thus began a flurry of emails from the group saying that--yet again--here was a prime example of the foolishness and cruelty of Christians. Many stated that although they never liked President Bush, at least they never wished him illness or death.
A couple Christians tried to defend the rest of us, but well, it's difficult to defend such behavior (over 1,000,000 people have joined that Facebook list). And this morning, though I almost never write into this group, I emailed words to the effect that we Christians are always at different stages of maturity and it depends upon how willing and humble we are as to how much we'll allow God to change our hearts and therefore the words we speak. I asked people to pray for us because we all certainly need it everyday. There was a tad more, but mostly I tried to calm things down.
People, people, people... Love is the key. So is wisdom. And so is humility. This computer life is Real Life to the extent that even here--or especially here-- we can make or break our Christian witness. We can ruin it for other Christians and we can wreck non-Christians' chances to become saved by our sloppiness with our words, making them run.
I've read blogs where Christians come down hard against pastors and evangelists (tv ones and otherwise) who teach heavily about Christian behavior. Well, you'll never near me criticize them because oh! Millions of people have been permanently turned off from Christianity--and from seeking God--because of the lousy, unkind, judgemental behavior of those who call themselves Christian.
Our behavior is important. Watching our words is vital. It's all Life and Death stuff to God and so it should matter a ton to each of us who are God's lights in this dark world. Even in our blogs, even on Facebook.
"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."