We love to complain, whether to our family over dinner, to our friends on social media, or to relative strangers through posts on our blogs. We criticize, judge and gripe, sometimes throwing in humor to make it go down better.
Is this a reflection of Jesus? Will this attract people to the Truth? Wouldn’t joy be the better choice?
When we choose to experience the momentary satisfaction we receive from delivering that clever quip or snarky diatribe, we are, as everyone does when they make a choice, leaving something behind. That something may be Jesus. While Peter betrayed Him to save his own life, we may be betraying Him for a few likes or shares. The idolatry of popularity.
If we look back at the early Church, she grew with incredible speed not because her followers griped about Roman domination or pointed fingers at the practice of exposing unwanted babies but rather through the joy of those who followed Jesus Christ, a joy found even in adversity. They sang as they faced persecution for His sake, even as they were martyred for their faith. They responded to exposure with love, taking these babies into their homes. They reflected the love and joy of Jesus, and that is what made room for the Holy Spirit to convert hearts.
It’s tempting to make known our opinions on everything from presidential elections to climate change, but will that bring people to Jesus? I think it will bring people to our camp on secular issues, and Jesus will be forgotten.
I don’t live in a bubble, so I’m aware there are evil things and people out there, but for 2017, my resolution is to respond with joy. How is this possible?
First century Christians understood the downsides of the Roman Empire. It wasn’t necessary to pontificate on the Bad News. Instead, they proclaimed the Good News.
Instead of railing against the evils of Planned Parenthood, celebrate the joys of motherhood and fatherhood. Share stories of parents who prevailed in difficult circumstances. Share the Truth with joy. You’ll be accused of being a Pollyanna, which brings up another point.
When we point fingers, we accuse, and there is one who is known as The Accuser. I’ll give you a hint:
“For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” Revelations 12:10
That’s right. Satan is the accuser, so you can be sure that he is behind your urge to shake a finger of shame in someone else’s direction. Instead of mocking a “Catholic” politician who pushes the abortion agenda, point out the teachings of Christ on the dignity due to every human life, and maybe include heartwarming examples.
If we remain focused on the Good News, if our messages are filled with the love of Christ, then the difference will be obvious. It is my belief that by making this choice, backed up with prayer, we can be tools in Jesus’ desire to convert the whole world.
© Jacqueline Vicks, 2017