Judge not, that you be not judged.
For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
1 Cor 11:31
So tonight is one of those nights that I am sitting here, attempting to analyze my own thoughts in an attempt to try and determine my true motives.
In an age driven by social media, it’s hard not to end up with more information than is either needed or desired in the lives of both friends and acquaintances, all dependent upon their security settings, of course. By looking at little snippets of their lives, it’s hard not to come up with an idea of the person behind the posts, whether you’ve met them or not, and regardless of any attempts one may make at not jumping to conclusions. Between image uploads, status updates, and the various memes, quotes, and likes someone has on their page, they create within social media a sometimes, fairly clear image of who they are.
Anyone that happens to find me on social media quickly discerns that I have a weakness for felines, (yes, even those that seem to have less than desirable English skills,) that I enjoy Star Wars and Iron Man, and that I enjoy a healthy debate. More than anything though, I hope that they realize that I am a follower of Jesus and consciously try to inject, so far as I am able, positive things into the world of social media. (I am not beyond hiding or removing posts that contain foul language or questionable content.)
So what am I getting at?
There’s an individual that shows up on my feed quite regularly, that I have never met in person. The only interaction I have had directly with them was either accepting or sending them a friend request; honestly can’t remember which it was. But just from their posts alone, I feel as though I know them fairly well.
I don’t agree with a lot of what I see, and I am not talking personal taste; (I don’t hide the fact that pink is far from my favorite color, but that’s beside the point).
After a particular post showed up on my feed earlier today, I had to stop and think, and question my motives. I sought counsel, (something I have no problem doing now that there is good counsel in my life,) and analyzed some more.
The post that brought all this about? A simple share of “Keep calm, sit back, and let karma **** them up.”
Due to at least a shadow of context from the other posts I have seen recently, my knee-jerk reaction was a desire to comment to that image with Matthew 5:44
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute you.
But then I put on the breaks. While I had a desire to post this, I was unsure if that desire was coming from the right place. This individual is a professing Christian so I know that a Bible verse would not have been deemed offensive to them, but at the same time, was my desire to respond in such a way judgement, or was it a desire to correct and edify?
I will be the first one to freely admit that I don’t know what’s in the heart of another. Nor do I have a desire to when it comes right down to it; it’s hard enough keeping up with my own. But when presented with something that I myself would never consider sharing, was my immediate response to judge? To somewhere in the back of my mind, try to make myself feel better because, ‘look how mature I am when compared to their emotional outbursts and delight in ill befalling another’?
I would like to be able to unequivocally say that was not something that went through my head. While it was not a conscious thought, I cannot rule out that that is what the heart of the desire to respond with a Bible verse was based upon.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
While I know from my own history that such a response would have ended up as a private message as opposed to a comment for all to see, that doesn’t answer the underlying question of why did I wish to post it, even if just for a moment?
Eventually, I came to several realizations. While the post itself presents something of an antithesis to what it is to be a follower of Christ since we’re to be known by our love, (John 13:34-35) there was something far more to it than presenting a conflicting public image. What I saw behind it was the bitterness that it takes to not just observe ill befalling another, but more so, to sit anticipating it and to delight in it. Then when one also considers that merely being angry with another can be on par with murder in one’s heart, (Matthew 5:21-24) what may have seemed like an ‘innocent moment of venting’ becomes something that could easily grieve the spirit (Ephesians 4:30).
While I would love to say that these realizations are the true and complete motivation that overcame me in a single moment when I wanted to respond with Matthew 5:44, again, I cannot say for absolute certainty due to the mess that is my very own heart.
In the end, all I can do is ask forgiveness for any sin, whether conscious or not, that I may have committed in immediately wishing to virtually throw a verse at her, and continue to pray daily that God fix my heart and bring it into alignment with His desires, and that he control my tongue so that I may be a blessing to others thereby bringing glory to His name.
…and add in that He also control my fingers.