Not too terribly long ago I experienced my first bit of "online controversy". I suppose that's par for the course for most people and seems to be a rite of passage for most bloggers, but personally I don't care for it.

My personality type tends to avoid conflict, it stresses me out. Besides I actually like most people and see no point in getting bent out of shape because of words on a screen.

My personal adage has always been the only way to win an argument online is to not engage.

About a month ago I tweeted something I thought was innocuous. Something that basically said "We should stop calling people that are different from us "Sinners". Instead we should reach out with love." Something to that effect and I included a Link to a blog I like.

I had pressed send and actually completely forgot that I tweeted anything, when suddenly my phone started buzzing incessantly. People were calling me a heretic, others were defending me by calling that person a moron.

The hatred and name calling escalated and I tried to cool people off by extending grace, Tweeting things like "Calling people a moron doesn't help, show him grace, I was once angry too." or "I'm sorry you disagree with me, I still like you though." but these soft spoken words were lost in the anger and indignation. I turned off my phone remembering the only way to win an online argument is to not engage. 

Accusations fly

When I read the bible I notice that the devil is called "the accuser of the brethren." Most everyone will agree with me on this. What upsets me most is that he seems to be having allot of help with his job by people who call themselves Christians. 

When we accuse each other we are doing Satan's job for him.

When I read someone say Mark Driscoll is a bully and an uncultured moron, that person is accusing one of the brethren.

When I hear someone denounce Rob Bell as a heretic, that person is accusing one of the brethren.

Christians are doing the devil's job for him and it breaks my heart. On Social media sites people get so angry, so quick to denounce a human being. One of God's own children. The name calling grows far toovicious for me. Especially when politics are involved. 

It reinforces an "Us versus them" mentality.

I honestly believe we were never meant to live this "Us vs. Them" lifestyle. But people feel so justified in their own righteous indignation.

There is nothing righteous about indignation.
The worst person in the world can say things are terrible. It takes a prophetic people to look at the bad in society and see the good. It takes a prophetic person to see the gold in another human being.
It takes faith to find hope in a hopeless situation.

Instead we fall back to accusing, hiding behind our own labels: republican, democrat, liberal, libertarian, gay, straight, black, white, us, them.

The bible calls Jesus our advocate.

Satan accuses. Jesus advocates. When we stand up for someone we are being like Jesus. When we accuse each other we are being like Satan. 

It really is that simple.

Look to build instead of destroy. Please. In that way we are most like Christ.

Sometimes we get stuck. We run a hundred miles an hour doing everything and anything we can for God. We work our fingers to the bone, trying our best to please Him knowing that "faith without works is dead". We read the book, we follow the rules, we share with others when suddenly...

We get stuck...

Suddenly there's no big event on the horizon to work towards, there's no conference to plan, no mountain top experience on the horizon. Nothing. 

And we hear that still small voice in our souls tell us It's time to slow down, not work so hard, be patient. We hate it.

God, how we hate it.

As I'm getting older and questionably wiser I am becoming more convinced that God is more interested in the person we are becoming rather than what we are doing.

He is attempting to prepare us for eternity, make us into the kind of people that would enjoy it in Heaven.

An example is tithing: 

I honestly think He cares less about the fact that we would give ten percent to the church and more about making us into generous people. The kind of people that would gladly give money to a need because we are accustomed to giving away a whole ten percent and we have never gone hungry.

When we fight the "ten percent rule" looking for ways around it, we are missing the point. 

When we ask "yeah, but gross income or net income?" we are missing the point. 

The point is God wants His people to give generously, to meet needs where we find them. Not follow arbitrary rules. 

When God makes us slow down it isn't because we're useless or because we are terrible sinners. It's because He wants to make us into the type of people that are completely comfortable in our own skins. The kind of people that are satisfied no matter what life throws their way. The kind of people ready in season and out.

When I read the gospels this is what impresses me most about Christ. He seems so comfortable in his own skin. Not shaken or thrown to tantrums (I know the whole temple thing, but that was ONE time and it was because poor people were being taken advantage of.) He doesn't seem anxious or needy. 

It's because he knows who he is. And he knows that he is the "beloved son in whom God is well pleased".

If we could get a glimpse of our own belovedness this anxiety and posturing would disappear. We could love others unconditionally, not worrying if there would be enough for us. We would stop fighting and striving to be better, to be more like someone else because God seems to love them and bless them more.


This is how we become more like Christ. Understand that God loves us just the exact way we are. Not some idealistic future version of ourselves. But the people we are....right now.

When we understand our own belovedness then those other fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, all those come much more naturally to us. 

In this my hope lies: I am the beloved son of God. Warts and all. And in this hope I can change my world.