Let me preface this piece by stating something I’ve declared in nearly every one of my 75 blog posts. (Did you catch the subtle flex in that sentence?) I am a resident expert on absolutely nothing. What I carry are over 25 years of working out my salvation with fear and trembling. I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes and am eternally grateful for God’s mercies being new each morning.
My belief is that during my lifetime I have learned some things. It is these few bits of knowledge and understanding I wish to share with you. It is a blessing to have this platform to discuss these issues.
This week’s topic may prove a little prickly. Please understand, when I write I may be sharing a message, but it’s for me as well. Typically, I’ve already been faced with that lesson or nugget of truth or am dealing with it at the moment. My topic selection is often predicated upon a personal trial, situation, or correction.
Bottom line: I’m not above any of the corrections, adjustments, or changes I may write about.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can dive into this week’s topic. I was inspired to write about it as I’ve come across a lot of Judgy McJudgykins in the faith-based community. My focus here is on those who proudly declare themselves believers yet seem to spend an awful lot of time trying to get the speck out of someone else’s eye while ignoring the log in their own. (Bonus points if you know the Bible reference for that analogy.)
Buckle up. Told you this subject might prove prickly for us.
I believe I’ve written previously how the majority of negative comments and feedback I receive from my blog or other posts usually come from “christians”. (Yes, in case you were wondering, the lowercase c was deliberate.)
I follow several celebrity accounts on social media who each state they believe in Christ. I don’t believe in deifying anyone, but we should support anyone working in Hollyweird (the belly of the beast, IMHO) who dares use their platforms to even utter Jesus’s name in a non-blasphemous context. I would argue most of us in the real world have no idea how oppressed and downright demonic the entertainment industry is. Though recently it does seem as if they’ve taken off any veils and are proudly and overtly promoting evil. But I digress.
In 2024, unfortunately, between increasing censorship and algorithmic selection and suppression, most of us are finding it more challenging to reach our audiences with the good news of Jesus. I daresay, however, these few actors and actresses I follow take more risk than me every time they talk about their faith, mention the Bible, encourage prayer, etc. Why? I’m so glad you asked. Currently, if I post something the powers-that-be don’t like, I don’t have a lot at stake. My job is not, at present, in jeopardy. My circle of family and friends already know what I believe, so I’m not likely to be ostracized or canceled. But for the celebrity? Unless they’re sheltered working with a faith-based studio or production company, they have more on the line to lose with each Jesus post, right? (This theme holds true for athletes and musical artists, as well. I merely chose to focus on actors/actresses for this piece.)
Imagine working your whole life toward a goal. You finally make it, and you want to thank the One who helped get and keep you there, and you’re told to stop.
Think about it. All those days and nights, all the auditions. All the callbacks that went nowhere. All the callbacks you didn’t even get. You grind it out for years in bit parts and cameos that are more like walk-ons. You keep going. You keep hustling because you know God gave you a gift. You can’t imagine doing anything else.
Then it happens. Your big break. Suddenly you’re an overnight sensation except few people know that overnight was the last 12 years of your life. But you’ve made it. It must be a heady time. The only way you can stay sane and deal with fame and all its trappings is to press in even more into the faith that’s been sustaining you all along the way. You realize the Lord has made it all possible. He opened the doors no one can shut for you in His perfect time. You’re so overwhelmed with love and appreciation for His goodness, you want to tell everybody. And now you can because you have a platform. So, you get on social media, or you sit down for an interview, and you give God the glory.
And it all goes nuclear.
Calls come in from your agent advising you to tone it down a little. Media interviews are edited to delete your potentially triggering ideas. And the comment section is blowing up!
Some get the message and suddenly become a lot less vocal. Others do not. My hat goes off to anyone who continues to be bold in the face of that pressure. Again, I’m not deifying anyone. They’re not my idol. But I think we should respect and encourage them. Show them some support. Not trash them in the comments.
But what if someone is saying or acting in a way that isn’t pleasing to God?
OK, I’ll agree with you there are times when I read something or hear someone speak and I know it doesn’t completely line up with the Word of God. But the rush to immediately vilify and disqualify the person is where I take issue. And, truth be told, I’m sure I’m not acting in a way that’s pleasing to the Lord at least once a day, but maybe I’m the only one?
For keyboard warriors quick to go off and correct when you believe someone’s wrong, are you as quick to encourage them when they get it right?
From my personal experience, the ones who can’t wait to school me and show me the error of my ways never seem to be around when I post something pure like a scripture verse or prayer. Why not? You have to call balls and strikes, people. Are you my unsolicited editor? Are you always reading my content, but only commenting when you find fault with it?
Are you as quick to bring edification as you are to bring correction?
Let me state again, this message is for me too. I’m not exempt from falling into the trap. Of course, if we read or see something that doesn’t line up with the Word, we want to fix it. If we love the Truth, we don’t want to see it twisted or compromised, even if done innocently.
But I believe it’s the way we go about delivering the message that matters. First, are we praying and asking God before we hit a keystroke or say a word? Perhaps it isn’t your job to tell so-and-so they got it wrong. Maybe it’s your job to pray for them instead. Maybe instead of publicly commenting and embarrassing them, you’re meant to send a private message with your concerns.
A huge problem I see, particularly on social media, is that when we get into these online battles, all we end up achieving is justifying to a non-believer why they shouldn’t be a part of the faith.
A healthy, respectful discussion or debate can be beneficial. But attacking, mocking, or disparaging one another helps no one and does nothing to further the kingdom.
If you’re not speaking Truth in love, what are you doing?
Are there times where someone might need a firm word, a strong correction because of what they’re doing? Absolutely. But more often than not, it is the gentle word that will pierce the heart and persuade.
I know I’ve had to acknowledge that sometimes I was being prideful in my approach. Someone said or did something completely not in alignment and I swooped in to fix them. But how dare I think I’m somehow better than that person simply because I didn’t make their mistake (this time).
I guess my point in all of this is to never forget the love. I’m not suggesting you ignore or permit what the Bible says we shouldn’t. A fair dose of compassion mixed in with the correction, however, goes a long way to help be and bring the change.
The fact is we all make mistakes. We all stumble. It is only by God’s grace that we get back up. Don’t believe me? Excellent. You know I brought receipts. (Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. (James 3:1-3)
“Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect…” Do you know anyone like that? I mean other than Jesus Christ. I don’t. Just saying.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. (Romans 14:13)
If you read some of the verses around this one, the Apostle Paul was using an example of if someone believed eating a certain food was a sin, even if you know it isn’t, don’t eat it in front of them. For me, this verse can apply to many areas. The Bible tells us to prefer one another, esteem others more than ourselves. The true Christian life (note the capital C here) is always about humility, preferring others, supporting others, building others up so that the Body may be whole.
For anyone getting ready to rebuke an actor or actress for the projects they choose, “You call yourself a Christian?” “How can you play that role?” “Why do you do blah blah blah?” Take a minute and consider your own ways.
For anyone getting ready to correct another believer, “What were you thinking?” “You know that’s a sin.” “You need to repent.” Take a minute and consider your own ways.
Correction may need to be made. You may be the one to bring it. But if you’re not operating in love, with wisdom, understanding and discernment, be careful. You just might stumble yourself. And wouldn’t you want a gentle, strong hand there to help pick you up?
My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. (Proverbs 3:20-23)
Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know.
Look forward to hearing from you.