I can’t remember anything about the show I watched on TV that evening 40 years ago except for that few seconds. An old man sat in his rocking chair, excitedly reading his Bible. As I recall, he read a chapter on Israel’s conquest of Canaan. He sat on the edge of his seat gleefully shouting, “Get ’em, Lord!”
It turned my stomach and broke my heart. What a horrible characterization of Christians!
Over the years, I reassured myself that the scene from the TV show merely betrayed Hollywood’s well-known bias against Christianity. That theory definitely has its merit. Even in its early days, the film industry had a certain animosity towards Biblical thought. By the 1980s that animosity was beginning to get less covert. So course the writers of that show would depict a Christian character as a vengeful old man who got his jollies from the destruction of sinners.
Lately, as I scroll through things Christians post on Twitter and Facebook, I find myself wondering if that hateful old man in the TV show really resembled Christians after all. I’ve recently come across posts and memes lamenting the sexual perversion that has taken over Western culture. These posts and memes trouble me because they subtly accuse people who promote these perversions of being the enemy.
Okay, in one respect non-Christians actually are enemies of God. Before we became Christians, we were also His enemies.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. ~~Romans 5:10 (ESV)
Somewhere a vengeful old man may have gleefully anticipated our condemnation as he observed our sinful lifestyles. And he had every reason to consider us God’s enemies just as we have every reason to regard those who flaunt their sin as enemies.
That said, it’s precisely because of our former hostility towards God and His principles that we must look at sinners as people who need to receive His mercy and our genuine compassion. Do we simply express disgust that our society celebrates their sin, or do we sincerely pray for the Lord to lead them to repentance?
And, as we share posts and memes rightly decrying the sinful attitudes and behaviors engulfing our society, are we also posting messages that call people to the Gospel? Do we want to make His provision of salvation known to the non-Christians who follow our social media accounts? Do we care more about virtue signaling our own righteousness or about showing sinners the way of righteousness?
For now, social media provides Christians with powerful tools to offer freedom to people in bondage to sin. Yes, we must call out their sin. But please, for the sake and honor of our merciful Savior, let’s use social media to tell them that Jesus has paid the price for all who will believe in Him.