Lets be honest. We Christians love a good fight. We claim to be people of peace, but lets take a look at our recent past. Whether it’s fighting alongside Hobby Lobby or Chick-fil-A or just jumping on board with the most recent “persecution” story, we love it. We spread it like wildfire. We talk about it with everyone. We want it to consume every conversation and we make sure it consumes everyone’s Facebook wall. Now before we get too far, I want to make it known that I’m by no means against standing up for what you believe. Matter of fact, I’m just the opposite. When I read my Bible, God tells me to stand up and be strong. To be “very strong and very courageous”. That “we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved”. I read that we are gifted by God with “His incomparably great power for us who believe”. Scripture tells us that we are to stand in God’s power, not wither under our own.
Apparently though, we Christians use this incomparably great power to stand tall by posting weak statements on social media and spitting hatred all over those we see as offenders.
If this is standing tall, I’ll pass.
Just this week, my small town Tennessee community got a glimpse of this. A student at one of the two local high schools was in class. Another student sneezed and this student said “bless you”. Things happened that we can only speculate about. But in the end, this student was made to sit out the rest of class. Next thing you know, it’s all over social media. Bloggers and newspapers picked up the story. Then it’s on Memphis news. Then it’s nationwide on the radio and tv. Unfortunately, the way schools and privacy laws work, we’ll never get their side of the story. All we can do is listen to the rumors directly from students at school (which we all learned growing up is pretty much the most accurate source of information ever).
And what are Christians doing? Are they seeking to resolve conflict? Are they aiming to mend relationships? Are they supporting their schools? Are they even boosting their acts of love toward students in the school? No. They’re too busy waving their flags and attacking their enemy. And let me tell you a little something about their “enemy”. As a youth pastor, I’ve gotten to be inside the schools in all sorts of ways. I get to rub shoulders with teachers and administrators. I’ve gotten more access and liberty there than any other school ever. And the people there are amazing. I love them. Every single one. I have yet to meet a person at the school I wouldn’t fight for. I haven’t personally met the teacher in this story, but I’ve talked to her coworkers, students, and former students. And those people all speak of her using words like authoritative, great teacher, and kind (sounds alot to me like the God I serve!). And those people are now the recipients of all sorts of hate from Christians from all over the country. People calling and speaking horribly to them. Calling them names and accusing them of all manner of things. One office worker I spoke to was very obviously on the verge of tears when I was speaking to her. The school had a dramatically increased police presence for fear of violence (from Christians!!) and are prepared for, but hoping against, issues at tonight’s football game. Even an office worker at the other high school in town had been berated all week by these lovely Christians calling the wrong school!
What are we doing? Who have we become? What good does it do to speak evil to people? How are we giving God glory when we hurt others? We don’t need haters. We need Godly men and women. We need to be overwhelming God’s throne with prayer, for the students, teachers, and school. We need to be flooding the school office with support, volunteer work, words of encouragement, and acts of love. We need to be providing them with funds and resources to aid the less fortunate. We need to help clean the grounds. We need to help keep crosswalks safe. There are all sorts of ways we can help make the schools better, but yelling, name calling, and brow beating don’t aid a single one of them.
So do me this favor: do something meaningful. The Spirit of God does not live inside us to tell us what names to call people. The Spirit of God does not dwell in us to tell us by which means to spread rumors and hate. The Spirit of God is in us to follow Him in His efforts to redeem this world. To show love, grace, and mercy. To build and not tear down. To match evil with love and overwhelm our real enemy. God wants us to fight! But our war is not against people. Our war is against hell. It’s all around us. We need to learn to tell the difference.
My challenge to anyone reading this post is simple. Do something meaningful for your local school. I don’t care which one. I don’t care what grades. I don’t care if you’re in my community or one in Shanghai. Do something for your local school. Make a stand for God by standing for our young people and those working so hard to help bring them up.