Matthew 5:21–26 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.”
Social media is a wonderful thing. What a genuine blessing it is to be able to keep up with family and friends far removed from us geographically. I for one am grateful for it.
As with any good thing, it can be used poorly, even harmfully. And one of the ways social media gets abused and abusive, is when it is used to spew anger, vitriol and scorn. What appear to have become 3 of America’s new favorite pastimes.
In today’s social media and internet climate, scorning others has become a way of life. We walk around perpetually angry with others, flinging insults everywhere we go and denominating everyone a fool who does not agree with us on anything. Sounds a little like our text, doesn’t it?
WARNING! Jesus’ is clear here – that kind of behavior invites censure. Not from others, but from God Himself. The kind of censure that bids us to think twice if we imagine we can verbally scorn others at will, and still come and worship Him acceptably. We can’t.
A warning that this kind of perpetual anger makes us liable to His judgment.
A warning that when we have sinned against others in it, we had better be quick to go and make it right, because we are both on our way to the Judge of all things.
Is there a place for righteous anger? You bet. But how quick we are to baptize our anger in righteousness, when in fact it is little more than an occasion to rip others and vent our spleens. Not upset at true unrighteousness and injustice, but merely in disagreement. An anger that moves from challenging ideas and injustices, to personal attacks and character assassination. Name calling, motive judging (as though we really know what is in men’s hearts), and slander.
Just because we can hide behind a keyboard and a screen name, doesn’t mean our God doesn’t see. And it DOES matter how we respond to those we disagree with, even on vital matters.
What an opportunity this is for Believers to show the World a very different Spirit from the one that influences men outside of Christ.
He has made us lights. Let us expose evil with that light. But at the same time, we had better expose the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ with that same light. Should we decry sin? You bet! But if we only decry it and do not present Christ at the same time, all we do is condemn. And Christ has not given us the ministry of condemnation, but of reconciliation. If we do not offer the solution of Christ, we’ve done nothing but spit on the perishing.