There are no shortage of opinions these days. Give someone a soapbox from which to espouse their views and we’ll never hear the end of them. Social media has given us this soapbox and it’s been a
terrifying enlightening experience…to say the least.
So on Facebook the other day, I read a series of comments on a friend’s post and these particular comments were so outlandish, I had to read them a few times to make sure it wasn’t a bad dream. My friend had posted something about people needing to wear masks and it was accompanied by a scientific article on the pandemic. Some of the more absurd comments basically consisted of the following tone: “the pandemic is a hoax,” “the Democrats are behind all of this,” “the global elite orchestrated this entire deception to get Americans to submit to their agenda,” “Dr. Fauci is a liar.” In essence, their comments conveyed a paranoia and turned what is a science and medial issue, into a political one.
The comment exchange got very heated and mean-spirited, with other commenters railing against the BLM movement, and some frantically claiming hat we’re all doomed if Biden wins…you name it, they raged about it. Rather than being a discussion about science, basic common sense and doing the right thing, it devolved into one centered on politics and irrational conspiracy theories.
However, there were a few comments that made me especially angry, because I personally know the people who made them. I was floored to read their words, because it showed a very ugly side to their personality. These people often portray themselves as “good people,” or, “very spiritual” and they hold themselves up as morally sound, decent people who love their country. Reading their comments, it’s clear they are delusional and dare I say it, duplicitous. Their comments exposed an angry, hate-filled vicious streak. Good people? How can one claim to be a good person or a good Christian, if they are so filled with rage and seem to hate so many people? What’s worse, they actually believe that their particular political party is somehow Divine — in some way, chosen by God. Some comments actually expressed a belief that Donald Trump and the Republican party are doing God’s work. My anger grew…
We can call ourselves anything we wish. We can say we’re good people and act like we’re kind and loving and we can pretend we’re open-minded and generous. But our actions and what we hold in our heart, ultimately proves who we are as human beings. Seeing their hypocrisy thrust into the light for all to witness was sad, but it was also cleansing, because the facade was coming off their outer shell. Their words betrayed them and we could see them for what they really are — it was this experience that made me think of 1 John 4:
Testing the Spirits
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you will know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and which is already in the world at this time.
You, little children, are from God and have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are of the world. That is why they speak from the world’s perspective, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. That is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.
Love Comes from God
Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
This is how God’s love was revealed among us: God sent His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as the atoning sacrificed for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we remain in Him, and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.
If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him. In this way, love has been perfected among us, so that we may have confidence on the day of judgment; for in this world we are just like Him.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us.
If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And we have this commandment from Him: Whoever loves God must love his brother as well.
This is a very powerful Bible passage. It teaches us so much, because it basically warns us to be careful of false prophets — those people who are by their words, actions and heart, contrary to the teachings of Jesus. The false prophet is one who deceitfully weaves politics and faith together to get the nefarious outcome they seek. The false prophet will say they’re doing God’s work, or spreading the Word of God, but the reality is, they’re doing the opposite. The false prophet is wearing a counterfeit face and they are most definitely not to be trusted.
The other part of this passage that we need to bear in mind is this: “If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar.” How can one claim to be a good Christian/Jew/Muslim and then have hatred in their heart? Can we really trust any Christian that boastfully claims to be devout, while heir words and actions run completely contrary to the very teachings of Christ?
The comments in the Facebook post I talked about are just one example in an ever increasing number to chose from. We are seeing, reading, hearing and witnessing it on a daily basis. Social Media has given us a soapbox and some among us have climbed up on that box and use it to espouse anger, jealousy and pure hatred. Disturbingly, they try to portray themselves as good people — as decent, honest, fair-minded folks. Do they not realize we can see their true nature? Are they oblivious to what we can all actually see under that facade?
True Christians embrace love and understanding. A true Christian seeks to help, build, improve, share and give. A false Christian pretends to do and want these things, but by their words and actions, they betray their true nature: one of toxic hatred, bigotry, selfishness and greed. A false prophet doesn’t have to be some hell-sent creature we see in a movie — he or she obviously are often just regular folk who have gone astray, often putting their faith into another human, rather than in God.
One question I think all Christians should ask themselves regularly, is “how can I make sure I’m being a true and good Christian?” I think the answer to that question is to always follow the teachings of Jesus Christ in our heart, our words and, our actions. But I also believe that we should realize that when we hold any human up as divine, we’re violating the very tenets of Christianity — no human is divine and we portray one as such at our own peril.
Beware false prophets and snake oils salesman. We’re all gifted with the ability to know right from wrong and when we let anger or hatred take control of us, that ability can easily be tainted and move us away from God.
Of possible interest for further reading: Four ways to tell a prophet from a political puppet