I really hate Facebook. Yet, I continue to use it, so I guess I really don’t hate it per se, just more of the people on Facebook. Well, that is not accurate either, because I really don’t hate the people – that isn’t what Jesus would do, right? OK, let’s try this again. When one feels that Facebook should be used to air theological and philosophical ideologies, a line has been crossed. Last night, my wife and I were marveling at the religiosity over a simple post in which a very personable and human Christ-follower stated that he was off certain food items for a month in an effort to be more healthy. We read that and were like, “good for him.” The problem that spawned hundreds of comments was the fact that along with the standard health-conscious no-no’s of sugar, caffeine, etc. was one word that strikes fear, neigh terror, into the heart of every religious zealot – alcohol.
Like piranha to movement in the Amazon river, or sharks to blood, Christians descended on this “fellow believer” with all of the fervor and judgment that we are known for, quickly pointing out the moral failure, theological blasphemy, and leadership ineptitude of the “sinning brother.” In classic form, some waxed on about how “Jesus never REALLY made water into wine,” while some went down the road of, “He made it but didn’t drink it,” to that old standby of “wine wasn’t really wine back then (as if Welch’s developed their process of ultra-pasteurization of grape juice in 33BC).” Of course, many questioned not the drink but whether “Christian leaders” should maintain a moral elevation over the congregants of the church, or whether we as Christians should be seen with the incredulous drink in public.
As I scrolled through the back and forth of who was sinning and who was being judgmental, I noticed a striking similarity to religion and government – both long to be in control. It is amazing that when I see God’s original intent for us, He actually put a tree in the Garden that He knew would kill us! God has never longed to control the individual, but rather that we would love Him to the point of longing for His ways. Control equals distrust which brings fear. I refuse to get into a theological argument concerning alcohol, but this I do know – we are not being known by our love for one another right now, but rather for our control, fear, and judgmentalism. I would go out on a limb to say that God could care less if you drink a beer, wine, or even liquor as I think He cares more about us considering Him and one another in our ways and how we interact with each other in relationship. I love how 1 John 4:18 in the Message reads, “There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.”
I figure that if people are really going to not like me, it is going to be because of my inability to be angered by them (when they really want me to hate them back), or my blatant actions of still looking at them through the eyes of a loving Father no matter how much I am chastised, or that I refuse to let a disagreement cause me to stop loving a brother or sister. Now, for those of you reading this and who know me, this is a moment of reflection for me too. Am I really acting out “well-formed” love? So I ask all of us the question of, “is it really worth it?” Is it really worth your principles to destroy relationship within an already fractured “church”?
As always, just a thought.