What We Are For, Not Just Against
If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. — John 12:47
If you're exposed to social or news media, you're well aware that the most attention-grabbing sound bites are filled with antagonistic messages. And they do this because people listen to them. There's an undeniable magnetic pull they have on us. They stir up our emotions, draw out our preferences, and confirm our biases. We're drawn to join the tribe that opposes what we oppose, standing alongside these loud and passionate people. But here's the problem: when our only focus becomes what we're against, we lose ourselves in antagonism, and hate becomes our focus. And I believe this destructive path will lead to the demise of social and news media.
And Jesus is aware that this is happening to him. His message of salvation, despite its positivity and hopefulness, gets lost in the noise of negativity. It gets buried because the spiritual leaders hear his message of salvation and fixate on the ensuing judgment it brings upon them. You see, Jesus's message has an effect—it judges them and all of mankind as sinful, in need of a Savior. Fearing the implications, these spiritual leaders seize upon the negative aspects of his message, utilizing sound bites against Jesus and fueling a movement that ultimately leads to his crucifixion.
Jesus, fully aware of their attempts to twist his message, clarifies his mission by redirecting the focus to the intended purpose of the Gospel. He didn't come to judge, even though judgment is an inevitable outcome; he came to save all of humanity, including the very spiritual leaders of Israel.
So, fellas, here's the application for us today.
It's important to be clear about what we stand against and effectively communicate it. However, we must not allow ourselves to become entangled in the fiery debates of social and news media to the extent that we lose sight of what we stand for. The message of salvation is awe-inspiring. It is profoundly positive, and Jesus gave his life for it. While speaking up against what we oppose has its place, it's equally crucial that people know what we stand for. Only then will they hear the message of hope, freedom, and liberation that the Gospel brings. Because what we are for clarifies what we are against. On the other hand, what we are against may never fully convey what we truly stand for.
- When engaging with social and news media, how can we strike a balance between speaking up against what we are against and effectively communicating what we are for? How can we ensure that our focus remains on the positive message of salvation and love amidst negativity?
- Take a moment to reflect on your own engagement with social and news media. Are there instances where you have found yourself getting caught up in antagonism or being drawn toward divisive messages? How can you intentionally shift your focus to promote a message of hope, compassion, and unity in those situations?
DO THIS: Focus on the Gospel mission.
PRAY THIS: God, give me the strength and wisdom to focus on what I am for and to be a beacon of your salvation in a world that often succumbs to negativity and division. Amen.
PLAY THIS: You Keep Coming After Me.
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