Sunday, December 17, 2017

Hovering Over The "Like" Button

A few weeks ago someone on Facebook posted something that was insightful, yet troubling because it was painfully true. I impulsively went to hit the "like" button but remembered this person rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t like the content of his life or the way he represented himself as a follower of Jesus. As I hovered over the button, I thought people might think I agree with all the other parts of this person’s life if they saw I was one of the likers. I felt increasingly shallow the longer I hovered. Finally, I hit the button and moved on.

That episode revealed to me the fear many of us have about aligning ourselves with people with whom we don't always agree. We think if we hit a “like” button, accept an invitation to a gathering or endorse some part of a ministry,  people could think we have sold out and went over to the other side, whatever the other side might be. This fear of alignment has a crippling effect on the Church. Under the spiritual-sounding label of discernment, we perpetuate distance between people. The Pharisees had this down to a science.

That wasn’t Jesus’ problem. He willingly aligned with all kinds of broken people. He did not come to Earth to preserve a prideful image or maintain a reputation. Read again the story about the woman caught in adultery or Jesus going to dinner at the house of a hated taxman named Matthew. What about the Samaritan woman or the lepers or loud mouth pre-Pentecost Peter?

Jesus never condoned anyone’s sin or wanted them to think it was OK to continue in that lifestyle. He walked through life hitting everyone’s “like” button when that act helped the marginalized know that someone loved and noticed them. God aligned Himself with all humankind when He sent Jesus to redeem us, “for God so loved the world”. The coming of Jesus was the ultimate “like" button.

A day after I hit the “like” button, the person I had a mild distaste for also hit the “like” button on something I shared. A strange little connection was made in those two acts. It may sound trivial to some of you, but it's not. The next time I meet this person face-to-face, I would bet the separation between us will have vanished. I know it did in my heart.  Fear gets tossed out the window because we are no longer afraid of where the aligning power of love will take us or what button of affirmation God would have us press.

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