There are few things that can get under my skin more than the hypocrisy of how Christians and non-Christians alike use the Bible on social media. For all the benefits social media has heralded in this new age of connectedness it has also brought to the surface the ugliness of sin and the depravity of the human heart. This blog isn’t meant to be political, I am not going to side with democrats or republicans; rather I want to try and dig into the heart of the matter when it comes to using the Bible to defend or attack someone’s political views.
First, let’s look at what the Bible is and is not. The Bible is a redemptive story. It is the narrative of a loving, righteous God who created, loved and saved a people who rejected him. Let’s make no mistakes here, the Bible is about God and Jesus and how he works and loves and disciplines His people. The Bible is NOT ABOUT US! It is NOT a self-help book; it is NOT a collection of things we can pick and choose from to make our lives better. Finally, it is not a weapon to be wielded to attack others. Let’s look at an example that explains this point. Upon hearing this you may object, saying “Sure, but even the bible calls itself a weapon, haven’t you read Hebrews 12:12-13 about the double-edged sword?” I have, so let’s look at these verses in their full context starting with verse 11.
11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
First, a couple things to note about these verses right off the bat: The context is you, not your neighbor or your political opponent on Facebook. When looking at these verses the scripture is not a sword that you get to use, it is a living sword separate from you that comes into your life and discerns if what is there is good or bad. Secondly, the whole purpose of this verse is to show us how the word of God cuts to the heart of OUR ISSUES, not someone else’s. These verses are a great example of how we should be using scripture to evaluate our own lives. The “rest” that verse 11 tells us to strive after (and that is often left out when quoting these verses) is talking about eternity with God. So, if we were to think on these verses we shouldn’t be asking ourselves how this sword can cut down Joe Shmo on Facebook. The real question that these verses bring us to is: how do we enter that rest? Verse 3 tells us that those “who have believed enter that rest”. This is what these verses are here for in the context of the rest of the Chapter, and in a nutshell, this is also what the Bible is here for. It digs through everything, to the very “thoughts and intentions of our heart” and then it discerns whether we have belief or unbelief. This is how Scripture is meant to be used.
Two steps forward one step back
Sadly we love to take the scripture and use it as our own personal weapon. Taking everything out of context by simply finding words or commands that match a particular issue or pop phrase and then throwing them at someone we don’t agree with. Often times the worst offenders are people who don’t even claim to be Christian and even outright deny most of Scripture. This doesn’t stop them from using Scripture as a sword to try and humiliate Christian opponents while sitting on their high horse of moral superiority. Fatefully these people will quote Bible verses to condemn you while simultaneously sleeping around, or supporting abortion, or lying whenever it benefits them. It is a bit hypocritical, don’t you think, to use the Bible to condemn a person and then think you are immune to the other standards that that same book teaches, especially when it pronounces a guilty verdict over every human being on earth. They ignore this, however, and instead ask questions like “aren’t you supposed to be Christians?” “What would Jesus do” or make statements like: “Jesus would never do that”. I find this line of arguing terrifyingly ironic. To use Jesus name is a very serious thing, and to ascribe to him qualities or actions or thoughts without reading your bible to know what He is really like is a serious offense.
When Christians talk about Jesus it is most often a completely different person than when non-Christians call down the Jesus of the world to correct his misinformed followers on Facebook. To say that “God is love…so you should be doing x, y or z” without understanding what that “love” truly is or went through, is to miss the point of the Bible entirely. In order to see this we must differentiate what the “love” of God in the Bible is as compared to what the world would call “love”.
A choosing to Love
The love of this world is most often based on feelings.
Have you “lost that lovin’ feeling”?
To look at God with a view of love like this taints everything we do including how we view and use the Bible. The love of God in the Bible is a choosing love, a sacrificial love, a redemptive love. This butts heads with what the world calls love. Think on this:
God loves us while we are still his enemies actively rejecting him. (John 3:16)
The world only loves you if you do what it thinks is best.
God tells husbands to sacrifice their desires for their wife’s desires. (Ephesians 5:25)
The world says get a divorce if you are not “happy” or have lost that lovin feeling
God commands us to love our enemies.
The world tells us to ignore and even despise those we don’t like or get along with.
Many of the problems of our society today are simply symptoms of a lack of Godly Love…..
I am not saying don’t use the Bible in arguments, on the contrary, go to the Bible to help shape all your thinking, but use it in the context it was meant for and with a heart that says: I am a sinner too, but look what God has done! To try and use the Bible to prop up an ideology that it doesn’t teach on or to use Jesus’ words on Love to tear down someone else is not only foolish, but dangerous. Instead, we ought to close Facebook, turn off our phones open up our Bible and search our own hearts to see what is truly there. Remember, the Bible is alive and active; it’s a story that is still being played out in which we are only extras. But thanks be to God who invited us into the main narrative and even though we chose to ignore him and actively sought to fight Him, He still offered us the role of sons and daughters if we would only follow him.