One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
— Mark 12:28-31 (NIV)
I’m not the absolute best at timely news. I need a few days to process stuff and really think about what I’m going to publish on the Internet.
So this was news a few days ago or something, but I’m talking about it now. The media may have moved on already, but I believe this particular news event is still very relevant.
Fox News correspondent Greta Van Susteren’s video about self-censorship of free speech sent her usual fans up in arms. She also posted a follow-up commentary about the First Amendment and people were mad about it too. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t watch this one. I tried the link and it had been removed). I don’t really watch Fox- actually I don’t watch news. I’m more of an online news person. But this stuff popped up on my Facebook feed and I saw the outrage, so I obviously had to check it out for myself.
“Christians have to deal with this!” they argued. “Muslims should too.”
“We’re letting the terrorists win!”
“Greta: why must we care about the sensitivities of Muslims, who practice intolerant religious customs?”
“When I no longer see vulgar mocking of Jesus, then maybe I will reconsider people mocking Muhammed.”
“This is America, if they don’t like our Constitution then they ALL need to leave.”
These were the comments and attacks against Van Susteren’s words. (I edited a few of these for grammar, but I didn’t change any of the original intent.) For once, I did actually like the opinion of a Fox News reporter. I thought it was irresponsible to hold a Muslim cartoon event and so openly hurt others. I thought it was irresponsible to put lives in danger just because someone wanted to get a point across. I couldn’t figure out why so many people were mad. I read comments like the ones above and grew weary.
Many of these commenters, I’m going to assume, would consider themselves Christian. That being the case, I’m really disappointed in the gospel we are projecting.
Free speech is American, you say. I’m glad it exists. America is a cool place to live sometimes. I’m glad we can say things without fear and I agree that fear shouldn’t be a motivating factor in preventing us from sharing whatever speech we wish to share.
But love should. Love should always be the motivating factor.
You’re saying this isn’t fair for Christians. But Jesus never promised fair. Jesus actually said a lot wouldn’t go our way. People would hate us. Then Jesus said love other people anyway. And this love wasn’t conditional. This love is still not conditional.
The terrorists, the Muslims, the whomever you’re complaining about is not out of reach of the gospel.
Sometimes Christians get so comfortable in our faith we forget that we too fall short. We all sin- all the time. The only difference is we accepted God’s forgiveness. And what should our response to this forgiveness be?
I hope that it would be to point other people to the same thing. I hope it would be to point people to a loving God. I hope it would be to point people to a Jesus that died for them.
It’s so easy to put yourself on your high horse and convince yourself you have the right to hatefully judge and disregard anyone you please. It’s even easier online.
Do not let the safety of the shield that is your computer screen convince you that you are better.
Before you post and comment and watch videos- whatever you do- take a minute. Pause for one second and think about what you are about to publish forever. Comments can be deleted, but the way they make people feel cannot. Screenshots exists and sharing exists and it is really easy to spread information across the world with a simple click.
How are you using this great responsibility?
Are you using it to tell people your God loves them and wants them? Or are you using it to claim your own righteousness?
You have free speech, but you also have a God. If you are truly following Him, you WILL censor yourself. You will not spew hate and you will not constantly bash those that disagree with you. You are doing nothing for the Kingdom. You are driving people away.
Correcting a wrong is fine as long as you lovingly point people to the truth. I hope I’m doing that here. I have to say, it’s really difficult for me not to be mean about things like this because I am SO frustrated. I am so frustrated that I can’t argue when people say Christians are no different. I am frustrated that I can’t argue when people say Christians are hypocritical. I am frustrated that I can’t argue when people say Christians are intolerant, hateful bigots. These are generalizations, but that doesn’t make them less true when applied to a great number of people claiming to follow Christ.
I understand that we all make mistakes- that is why Jesus came to save us. Jesus’ death rescued us from sin and we are no longer responsible for that payment. But this is not an excuse to stop trying.
This is not an excuse to tell everyone how righteous you are because of your own power. You aren’t. You are weak. You couldn’t save yourself, so God did it for you.
This is not an excuse to stop following the law, and the law is this: Love God and love your neighbor.
Point people to Jesus. Not the other way. I beg you. Point people to Jesus.