If social media has done anything, it has proven our tendencies to want to control what we see and or hear. Now, I have be accused of being a selective hearer on more than one occasion but I do find the reactions of those who happen to hear or see something that displeases them to be humorous. That said, I’m no different. With all that is pumped out before us, it can be overwhelming. But in the click of a button we demonstrate our power to control or limit our exposure.
With so much of the world now lived out online, much has been done in the interest of preference. We have the ability to create as many alter egos or personalities as necessary and when we come across someone or something we don’t like or agree with, we simply filter it or them out; a social firewall so to speak. I’ve yet to hear that Shangri-La has been found but there seems to be many of them online; or at least the ability to create that place online.
Writing and posting what I call devotionals for the past few years now, there have been more than a few occasions where what I have said has drawn me into a discussion. Knowing that not everyone agrees or shares my faith, I expect there to be disagreements from time to time and I confess, I have enjoyed them. It always seems to create another opportunity for me to expand, explain or defend my faith. My goal is never to be right but that Christ would be glorified. And, there has never been a time where I felt the need to push the unfriend button as a result.
In the world of social media many sites, in an effort to give the user the sense of control, provide the feature to unfriend. In clicking this button a user has the ability to block any communication with an individual while at the same time letting them know of their new standing or rank in the life of the one clicking the button. A proverbial Staple’s “Easy” or Queen of Hearts “Off with their heads” button if there ever was one.
This ability to be selective in what or who we are exposed too is nothing new. It is not something those of the 22nd century will look back on and say was an idea that came out of the 21st century. Ecclesiastes 1 v 9 states the following regarding this:
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
Acknowledging and conceding this, selective hearing was a real issue faced by those charged with ministering and dispersing the Gospel to the world. The Apostle Paul states the following in preparing Timothy for the struggles he was sure to face:
“For the time will come when men will not tolerate sound doctrine, but with itching ears they will gather around themselves teachers to suit their own desires.”
Reading the scripture above we can be assured that we will be confronted by those of a differing opinion and the question I have is, will that or does that opinion change what we know to be true? This thought immediately has me reflecting on what is said in Proverbs 14 v 12:
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death”
When it comes to the Gospel, there truly are two sides to the fence.
In a marriage crisis, the situation often faced is that of one wanting to replace their spouse with another they think or feel to be a better option. In counselling it is always said, or should be said, “The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence”. With man’s wisdom vs. the Gospel of Christ, there is only one side of the fence that is healthy, growing and green.
In Genesis 3 we learn of the fall of man, that moment sin entered the world resulting in our once immortal state becoming mortal. The end of Genesis 3 v 19 states the following regarding our condition from that moment on:
“for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Romans 6 v 23 affirms this to still be the case thousands of years later:
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This state of things has not changed for us today; nor will it change for those of the future. But in saying this, there is also another truth that stands unchanging; resolute. That of God’s unwavering grace.
Grace is at the core of the Gospel message a Christian professes. It is the good news that says to those who receive it, regardless of what we’ve done you are forgiven. It is given freely by a Father whose motivation is love. Again, in preparing Timothy, Paul illustrates the scope of grace in saying:
“This is a trustworthy saying, worthy of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. But for this very reason I was shown mercy, so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His perfect patience, as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1 v 15 -16
In Christ, there is no fear of the unfriend button regardless of what we’ve done. When grace is needed, it apportioned and I’m forever thankful.
In closing, I recall the movie Avatar and the social impact it had on many looking for that uncorrupted land of utopia. News outlets reported on the despair seen in blogs and forums across the web. In seeing what they deemed to be a perfect world, a world in touch with its creator, so many expressed their struggle in continuing to live in the world we have today. A world created out of CGI had struck a nerve leaving so many with a desire for more without ever realizing that it does exist.
Faced with knowledge that his life here was coming to an end Jesus comforted his disciples in stating:
“In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14 v 2 -4
Heaven is that place. A place of uncorrupted eternal peace. A place free from the pain of our sin; where we are not just in touch with our creator but live eternally in his presence.
I love what Jesus is saying in
“You know the way to the place where I am going.”
It is not found in some great treasure hunt or at the end of a rainbow. It is found in Christ (John 14 v 6) and because of grace; all are welcome; all are called friends (John 15 v 15). I pray I see you there.
God Bless – Sean Bosse