A dear friend of mine recently shared one of my quotes on Facebook. What happened next surprised me. One of his friends rebuked my quote…right there for everyone to see. The guy doesn’t know me, had never heard of me, and had absolutely no context of the journey behind the quote. He simply dove into the semantics and made broad brushed assumptions about my motives, my theology and ultimately my character.
Full disclosure, I pride myself on my ability to avoid social media drama. The delete button is my dear friend, and the ability to restrain myself from jumping into a fray is on the level of world class strength. I have learned through the years, defensive never looks good on anyone. However, on that day, with that guy, I felt the need to respond.
The verbatim is not relevant, but the heart behind my retort is very important.
What is it that compels us to so easily and quickly pick others apart?
Why are we so comfortable making assumptions about people’s motives?
Why do so many trend toward pessimism and cynicism as a default mode?
Why are we so dismissive of the possibility that there are layers to what a person says?
In more concise words, I told the guy that day…
You took two sentences out of the hundreds of thousands of sentences I have spoken on behalf of the Gospel, and made a judgment on my heart, my methods and my ideas about God. You projected onto me your worst assumptions without any proof of accuracy. You put words into my mouth and inferred certain ideas that are not found anywhere in the quote. You disregarded the possibility that you didn’t have all of the context. That is ungodly, not the heart of Jesus and a reflection of your soul, not mine.
After the matter was settled, I reflected…how many times have I unfairly picked apart what someone says?
What is that?
First, it’s a cheap path to elevate ourselves by diminishing others. We leverage a sound bite in an attempt to highlight our supposed intelligence. We violate someone else to impress others. We use and abuse them to garner validation. It’s a megaphone screaming I’M INSECURE.
Second, it is a neon sign that reads, “I have a negative, jaded, cynical disposition.” It says, “I can’t enjoy this, and I don’t want anyone else to enjoy it either.”
Third, it is arrogance that we would presume we have it figured out and this person is flat wrong. It is arrogance to assume the authority to rebuke someone else. I know we have to “defend the Gospel and preserve the truth”. I know you are “fighting the good fight of faith”, but you always lose the “fight” if you don’t operate in the heart of Jesus. Your argument may be air tight, but who cares how “right” you are if you are in the wrong spirit?
So, the next time you are tempted to offer a rebuttal to that famous preacher, nitpick a meme from one of your buddies, assume the role of defender of the truth, or throw out the unbeatable Jesus juke to rebuke a post that happens to not mention Jesus…
Please, Just Don’t.
P.S. – This screen shot is great! Mark Chironna defends Brian Houston because people were Jesus Juking his tweet.