As a Christian, I try to only argue with Christians on Facebook.
Yes, I know that sounds counter-intuitive. But I feel that, first of all, Christians should be able to understand each other, because we have a similar framework through which we view the world.
Similarly, I tend to extend more grace (I know, sad) to non-Christians, because if they are misled, it may be because they don’t have this same framework of Christ and his teachings.
Thirdly, Christians being true to Christ—his word, work, and witness—is the most important thing to me. People who follow Christ should have similar priorities, and if they don’t, perhaps it is my responsibility as their sister to correct them. Right?
Well, if there’s anything this attack on the United States Capitol building has taught me, it’s how much I don’t know.
I don’t know how to respond to the onslaught of arguments—from Christians—that predictably enter my Facebook feed. There are arguments on one side, arguments on the other, arguments in-between. Even arguments about what we should be arguing about. Everyone is arguing that s(he) has more figured out than the person (s)he’s arguing with.
I don’t know how not to think less of the people (Christians in particular) who are arguing, especially if they’re arguing for or against something with which I disagree.
I also don’t know how to convince these Christians not to think less of me.
I know (or think I know) what’s wrong, but I don’t know (or sometimes I think I do) which wrong takes priority over which other wrong.
I don’t know when to respond, and I don’t know when to ignore.
I would like to be more like the apostle Paul—whom I personally think is the best arguer in the Bible (feel free to argue this point).
When a faction arose in the Christian church stating that people could only belong to Christ’s Church if they followed Jewish laws of circumcision, the apostle Paul strongly condemned this additional test of belonging to God’s people. He stated that “the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6).
The other day on Facebook, I was accused of not being pro-life. Anyone that knows me knows that I am pro-life and have been all my life. (“If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless” (Philippians 3:4-6).) But in the context of this accusation, I tried (and I think failed) to communicate that, though I am pro-life, that is not my identity or priority. Christ is.
What is your Facebook test that I am a follower of Christ? Is it that I be pro-life? Anti-racism? Pro-democracy? Anti-socialism? Anti-Trump? Pro-Trump? Anti-rioting? Anti-election fraud? Anti-censorship? Anti-media? Leftist? Conservative? Moderate?
I’m not saying that I don’t think some of those things are good and some are bad. I personally feel strongly that Christ-followers should be some of those things and not others. I understand the desire of Christians to say to their brothers and sisters – your viewpoint is WRONG!
But perhaps those conversations should be happening privately, in the context of relationship—for the sake of Christ and his Church, and for the sake of the world—who I fear, are no longer hearing our main message.
When Paul defended himself before the world, he gave his testimony and pointed to Christ and Christ alone. It was in private letters to the churches with which he had relationship that he argued for the rightness and wrongness of particular actions and beliefs.
I guess Paul’s response to the circumcision faction sums up how I feel about the attack on the Capitol building, in particular how the demonstration has once again stirred up passionate arguments among Christians. Come on, people, I want to shout (and need to shout to myself), “the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love!” And, “as for these agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” (Galatians 5:12).