I have watched with sadness as Twitter trolls have destroyed or severely damaged people and institutions. Sometimes the venom is directed at those who simply have a sincere difference of opinion on moral issues. Nothing seems to generate more glee than a Christian leader or institution failing.
Without fail the hypocrite word is used with smug satisfaction.
And it is true. Let me make this personal since I can only speak honestly for me. I am a hypocrite. I do not consistently live up to the teachings of Jesus. I fail. I sin. That is why I need a Savior and not a self-help course. I am confident not in my holiness but in the holiness of Jesus. I remember hearing a pastor say that “we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. But that doesn’t keep us from comparing distances.”
That is exactly what I used to do and still do when I forget why Jesus found it necessary to die for me! I was comparing distances between my own sinful judgement and comments about other people against what I was hearing about another person or place. I condemned without knowing anything about that person’s wounds or struggles. I would self-righteously note that at least I haven’t said something that offensive or done that bad thing! I am not as bad as them!
God’s Word says I am condemned when I judge, idolize, lie and covet. It doesn’t matter whether it is less offensive than another person’s actions. Whether I fall a millimeter short or miles short is meaningless. I have fallen short. I am a desperate sinner in need of a Savior. Today I asked for the Holy Spirit to examine my heart. I am not responsible for the comments of others. I am accountable for my comments and thoughts before the One who went to Cross to win my forgiveness.
Earlier in this space I wrote about a familiar passage from the Gospel of John. I wondered how Jesus might respond to today’s condemning cyber-mobs. Here is a modern version of a well known story.
A crowd soon gathered, and He (Jesus) sat down and taught them. As He was speaking, the teachers of politically correct speech brought a woman who had been caught in the act of hateful speech. They put her in front of the crowd.
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the very act of intolerance and hate speech. We say she should be fired, disgraced, and shunned. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap Him into saying something they could use against Him, but Jesus stooped down and looked at the device in His hand. They kept demanding an answer, so He typed a message that appeared on every device in the crowd simultaneously. They read the message on their screen. “All right, but let the one who has never unfairly judged another and who has never said an ugly untruth about another send the first Tweet!” Then he looked down and typed something else.
When the accusers read this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Remember that every person is precious in My sight and that I loved them enough to endure the Cross. Go and sin no more.”
Forgive me for taking liberties with such an amazing text. But I think it brings it home for us that I (and you) are just like that mob who dragged the woman to Jesus.
Forgive me for my judgement of others. Forgive me for my ugly thoughts. Forgive me for my mean comments about those you love dearly. And thank you for still loving me in spite of the ugly reality of my own sin. I fall on your grace today. Please remind me to use these gifts of communication only to edify, encourage and inspire.
Thank you for loving me. Help me to love others in the power of Your Amazing Grace.