Christian Faux Pax on Social Media

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There are many things which held me back from becoming Christian. Most of them were my own failings and some were founded in what I perceived people’s expectations and behaviours to be.

It’s daunting to think of becoming Christian when you’re where I was. I was so imperfect, hyper-aware of my sins and flaws that it seemed impossible to live a life with what seemed rigid rules.

Thankfully I jumped the hurdle of my fears and found that Jesus Christ truly isn’t a leader who sits pointing a finger, he doesn’t require me to be perfect instantly. Through building a relationship with Christ I’ve gotten to know him and he’s changing me every day.

Humbling me, molding me into the person he means me to be. It’s not a smooth road, I’m a very typical human who errs and grows through it.

The fact remains that we’re all human and often perceive things in different ways. As a Christian we’re told to help each other to see our sins and grow through Christ by changing our ways…..specifically in my church we have a saying that “Iron Sharpens Iron”. I’m usually all about this because frankly I need all the help I can get at times…..

Recently I was in my car feeling very free and having a happy moment without children…..yes these are happy moments for me when I can blast whatever music I choose! Down with the top 40!!

Being the good social media gal I am, I posted this on Facebook:

Facebook-Status-Update

The caption says: This is me in the car, without kids blasting @Pink the unedited version #HappyMommyTime. I put the same up on my personal profile but used the word “profanity” in it.

Continuing on with my day I went to my 12 Step recovery meeting and listened to folks who are mucking into life on life’s terms. God was there in the room with us, the base topic was humility and spirituality and as I left the meeting I was feeling lifted! As a person in recovery who attends meetings I have the benefit of facing my faith at each meeting I attend, I have an extended family who will call me on my junk and encourage me to progress upon my spiritual journey.

Iron Sharpens Iron!

Returning home I opened Facebook and saw I had a message from a person who attends the same church as we do. This is someone I haven’t had personal interactions with and certainly couldn’t ever have predicted what I read.

I’ll summarize his words, I don’t know that it’s either necessary or appropriate to quote him directly. He pointed out that he doesn’t know me well other than via this blog and Facebook but we attend the same church. He took time to point out that he’s imperfect and no different than myself or anyone else. Then he went on to “encourage” me to realize that by making public declarations of support for music or books with profanity I’m going against my public profession of a love for Christ.

REALLY?

Cough.

Before I continue I’m saying right now very clearly that this person has contacted me since and clarified the intent was not to offend or be hurtful. He genuinely felt “called” to “guide” me. I ask that you not comment on this person’s views….they are his own and I respect them. I am looking to explore the delivery here, not the message.

Today I’m calling out to all my fellow Christians

It’s rare that I take a strong stand on anything but this one is dear to my heart. If we think that we can say whatever we want to one another simply because we share the same faith we’ll be driving people away.

Here’s a hint I’ve learned so far: If I’m spending time taking someone else’s inventory without them requesting it, I’m not spending enough time taking my own.

Putting it plainly God isn’t relying upon me to call out other people’s behaviours randomly. He’s got this.

Being my Facebook Friend Doesn’t Establish a Deep Relationship

With social media being what it is today we can easily be misled into believing that we actually have a relationship with people. I admit to the fact that I check updates of people I dig and have often had that awkward moment where someone I haven’t seen in a long time is updating me on their life events only to have me chime in commenting on the Facebook updates they’ve posted.

Even though we interact on social media from time to time, or you are keeping up on my life via status updates, unless we have sought out time together one on one we’re essentially still strangers.

Christ didn’t call us to judge each other, if and when we’re called to lead others it surely won’t be via a Facebook message to a stranger pointing out how you think they’ve sinned.

Christ calls us to enter into a relationship with one another, to nurture our faith and strengthen that of our fellow Christians via RELATIONSHIP.

The day I became a Christ follower nobody handed me a free pass to say what I like or to quote verses which point out people’s sins or behaviour defects. Christ has guided me down difficult realizations by using people in my life many times but never in quite this way.

Perhaps I am wrong to have posted this photo as a Christian, or by enjoying music with profanity, perhaps. But if I am, that’s my issue to explore.

While I will be exploring my taste in music relative to my faith, I’ll never think it’s appropriate behaviour to convey my beliefs to someone else in such a manner.

To my readers who aren’t Christian, the majority of Christians I know don’t judge. We are aware we are sinners and I don’t really think this person meant to come off as judgemental but in the end it did.

This situation has struck something deep in side of me which wants to draw away from the church. Worshipping alone is much easier…..but in the end God has called me to worship with other Christians and to grow in fellowship.

Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I’m told that Christianity is the faith of sinners, well then I should fit right in shouldn’t I?

We are told in the Bible to live in community, to create relationships and encourage each other.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds

I get this…..but when we simply approach another person whom we don’t have an established relationship with and point out flaws in behaviour is this really the LOVE Jesus lived?

From this situation I’ve learned a few things. That I can accept what I perceive as judgment with an open mind; that I’m willing to consider someone’s opinion and explore it though my faith and that I’ll never, EVER be able to predict people’s actions.

As the imperfect Christian I am I am writing to you all today merely hoping you’ll pause before you react to things. Before saying what may indeed be a very good point, consider your relationship with the person. Will you message be heard or will you be pushing someone further away from Christ?

From my perspective today I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and by golly I’m Christian enough.

Just for today!

Comments

  1. says

    I loved this post because it raises several really important points in an honest way.
    I have no opinion on whether the music you were playing was ‘okay’ or not… I learned a long time ago that opinions get me into trouble every time, so I try to ignore any urge to ‘side’ or to express my ‘opinion’.
    I’m glad you raised the points about social media and judgement and you seemed to be very fair-minded about the person who wrote to you – addressing his comment and not him personally for one thing is a way forward for relationship.
    What I would like to say – actually to the persons who, like your contact, feel called to comment to someone who may be in error: ask a question. First ask yourself, how would you like to be addressed when you are making a mistake? and then approach the other person with a question rather than a statement, for example: Do you think that this (song, comment, book referral, whatever) holds Christ-followers in a good light?
    It may be the call is from the LORD but his son rarely imposed his ideas on others but rather ask a lot of questions.
    God bless.
    Sarah Tun recently posted..NEXT scheduled blog: Thursday 17th JanuaryMy Profile

    • says

      Sarah I love the approach of presenting as a questions, this indeed would be a positive way to go about it assuming it were coming from someone I had a relationship with.

  2. says

    A thoughtful post, Julie. Your courage to work through life’s messy bits is inspiring. I hope if you feel compelled to go back to your church you will do so. I find it sad when I hear of Christianity links with so many “shoulds”. No wonder church attendance continues to fall year-over-year.

    My feeling, like I imagine many of your fans, is that many kinds of music has a way of lifting us up. And that is wonderful.
    Alison Hodd recently posted..8 Ways to Makeover this Dining RoomMy Profile

    • says

      I won’t let this feeling stop me from attending church ultimately, one person’s behaviour isn’t indicative of the wonderful church we attend….I’ll trudge through this with God’s help.

  3. says

    I always go back to the lesson of when you point or call someone out remember that are 4 fingers pointing back at you. We are all on different walks in life and who am I to say what is wrong or right. If those that said it was wrong for you to listen to well it is wrong for them to listen to because that is where they are in their walk but God works in us all differently so if he is working on something me it doesn’t mean he has laid it on everyone else’s heart to do the same thing. I really enjoyed reading your post today!
    Annie @ It’s just my life… recently posted..Hello Boogie Wipes, Good-bye sore nose! {#Review}My Profile

  4. says

    A few years ago, I really got back into my religion and introduced it to my children. I am proud of what I believe in and try to encourage my children. But I don’t force it on ANYONE. My husband doesn’t believe as I do, sometimes it makes it hard when we are working through issues regarding the kids. Luckily, we are both open and honest and can work through our difference.
    @Mommy_Jennof3 recently posted..Wordless Wednesday ~ Winter WonderlandMy Profile

    • says

      I think that’s amazing, your determination to include your faith in your child’s eyes and yet respect your partner is indicative of the type of relationship I see to have with everyone.

  5. says

    Okay, so I’m not a Christian because I do use profanity??? That’s ridiculous. God doesn’t care the words I use as long as His name is not taken in vain or the words used are not maliciously used. I use a certain four letter word to emphasize emotion while expressing things, never toward someone, unless in jest. I stand firm that God loves me, and not going to church every week or being a swearer is not going to keep me from the promised land. I am a good human being, compassionate, loving, faithful, honest and respectable. I read my Bible and take time with God every single morning before I do anything, well, I walk my dogs… and am sure God will forgive my errs, every so small that they are.
    That person who pointed out your fault, only to “guide” you, should refrain unless living a perfect life. It’s not their place to “guide”. It’s God’s and His alone. His word resonates through us all, if we allow it. Not via a third party.
    Freda Mans recently posted..Blasting About: Heart of the Ocean (With $50 Giveaway)My Profile

  6. says

    I am not christian and not religious. I have beliefs and opinions and that is that. I saw the post on Facebook when you posted your mommy time and thought it was fun and you :)
    I have been accused before of being inappropriate, overreacting and even “judgmental” I think no matter what your beliefs are,you just learn and grow and try to be a good person
    gingermommy recently posted..Winter Pet Care Tips from IAMsMy Profile

  7. Laurie Curtis says

    Whenever I think of how my behaviour may affect another person (whether a believer or not), I’m reminded that Christ cares for those people just as much as he cares for me…. he died for each one, and none has a higher status than the other. I think about how I am responsible, as a Christian, to try to ‘be all things to all men’…. and to try to live at peace with everyone, as best I can. My aim? To not be a ‘stumbling block’ for another person’s journey to Christ. It’s a high calling… but it’s also an honour.

    I may be the only person who thinks this, but I believe the intention of this guy was meant to be really good. We are the body of Christ, and therefore, we need to fully accept that we are a sisterhood/brotherhood… not just an organization of people who share the same belief system. We are a body. Christ’s body. And gently encouraging one another to live a life that brings glory to God is a part of our calling. Having humility when being ‘called’ on something takes great courage.

    The iron sharpens iron thing is beautiful…. it helps us to remember that we grow with each other… toward the common goal of unity in the body and in spirit.

    I won’t debate the issue. But I just want to say that whenever we are confronted on something we’ve said or done, it takes self reflection that should be measured by what God’s word says. Opinions are often thrust around (and they often stink), but the word of God produces fruit in our lives — good fruit.

    Here’s a passage of scripture that comes to mind…
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1 Corinthians+10&version=NIV

    We have all sinned and we ALL fall short of the glory of God. It sounds to me like the fellow who sent you the message agrees that he too falls under that same category of ‘sinner’ who needs the Lord as much as any one of us do.

    Considering that this guy didn’t address you publically, but rather sent you a private message (or didn’t he?), tells me that he was mindful not to embarrass you. I think social media can be used appropriately (through private messages) to share our thoughts with other people if/when we find the need to do so. Whether that message is received well or not is the risk we take when we ‘go there’.

    • says

      I agree with the idea of your belief Laurie but will never agree that we are called to point out areas of improvement to people we don’t have that level of intimacy with.

  8. Laurie Curtis says

    Ooops… seems like the link didn’t work. The passage I was referring to was 1 Corinthians chapter 10.
    :)

  9. Sandra says

    First of all, what do you mean we’re still essentially strangers? What the?… :) Kidding! I’m kidding! I do adore you though, and I have to say that it’s funny how I came back to Twitter a couple of days ago, and BAM! I find this post retweeted by another one who adores you. Thank you Jesus! Always love those moments when I can feel His hand guiding me. I don’t have too much to say. I love to read anything that glorifies the Lord, and this most certainly does. I do think Satan (the Accuser) creates deception in our thoughts, and we never know who this will occur to, or when. So I try really hard not to judge. Not the man in your church. And not you for listening to Pink. PS: Totally felt the Holy Spirit while reading this…again thank you Lord!!! And thank you Julie! You have uplifted me.

  10. says

    I have had this happen in two ways. One was a close friend who called me out on something and while it still got my feathers all ruffled I knew from her it came from a place of love and friendship. To be honest I was still ‘miffed’ for a few days until what she was saying sank in and I realized she was right. I know God led her to tell me so I could work on what I say.

    Because as you said, “Before saying what may indeed be a very good point, consider your relationship with the person. Will you message be heard or will you be pushing someone further away from Christ?” You can also take that and say that before post something will it lead people to God or push them from him.

    Coming from a close friend the sting isn’t as harsh.

    But I have also had it come from someone (on a totally different matter) that I wasn’t close with and I felt much like you do.

    Thanks for such a wonderful post, sharing it with my followers.
    Felicia recently posted..Anniversary, books and house huntingMy Profile

    • says

      Felicia I appreciate your comment, it’s true that I watch my words here. I don’t want to turn folks from Christ….I would hope this transparency shows that Christians are fallible (me), get miffed and learn from it.

  11. Lisa H. says

    I love this post so much, Julie. I am a Christian as well, though you may have never guessed it, given my penchant for colorful language. My faith is my faith and one thing that really holds me hostage sometimes is feeling judged within my own Christian community. I’ve been at a crossroads lately. On one hand, I want to represent my values and walk the walk. But I guess the way I feel most comfortable doing that is by working very hard to ask God to show me how to be loving and tolerant every day. On the other hand, I have to remind myself that what other people think of me is none of my business. That is FREEING for me. I don’t believe my taste in music or my use of 4 letter words endears me less to God. I feel that I’m living authentically and am where I am today. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be somewhere different.

    One thing is for certain. I feel like living in freedom from the bondage of addiction is exactly what God wants for me today. : ) Thank you so much for this post. xoxo

  12. says

    I’ve actually seen quite a few posts recently along the same lines.

    Christ didn’t call us to judge each other, if and when we’re called to lead others it surely won’t be via a Facebook message to a stranger pointing out how you think they’ve sinned.

    If you read the verse that references, it is talking about condemnation. We are suppose to judge and discern right actions as well as teaching. The book of Jude references that. You said that he sent a follow-up message saying he wasn’t trying to slam you, maybe take him at his word.

    I think sometimes, as Christians, we don’t realize how much what we see as casual actions influences people who aren’t believers. If the walk is truly about a faith and a Savior that transforms, they want to know that it’s for real.

    Some people have more of a sensitivity to things. That is what Paul was talking about when he said to put our love for our fellow Christian above our freedom in Christ. That we shouldn’t be a cause for someone else to stumble.

    We all have stuff. We are all imperfect. God will never be done with cleaning us out on this side of heaven, but we need to always be willing to be submitted and obedient allowing him to do so.
    Carla recently posted..What is the Christian Walk?My Profile

    • says

      I agree that we aren’t called to an easy road Carla but we are also called to season our words with salt. I love that you’ve taken the time to come and comment, it’s a reflection of God’s work in your life. How much easier it would be to read this, roll your eyes and move on. I will be reflecting on your points.

  13. says

    Julie- nice post!

    You got around to it but I wanted to point out that we are not Christians to be perfect rather we are Christians because Jesus loves us despite our brokenness. Unfortunately, many try to keep score on their sin…I would never do what she did, but I am not as bad as he is, etc.

    We are a broken people in a more broken world and take our strength and joy in our faith of knowing we are loved and have an eternal life despite it through the blood shed on the cross that covers our sin completely. There will be only one final judgement, it is not for me or any other Christian or otherwise to judge.

    Press on!
    Kent @ A Family Mission recently posted..Living IntentionallyMy Profile

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