I recently took a break from social media while I was coming out of a severe depressive episode. I found that seeing hate-filled posts, angriness, meanness…it just made me want to join in. It started as a desire to leave FaceBook in a boycott, due to its tendency to censor free speech and conservatives. It was the best thing I could have ever done, to help heal from the situation.
During that time, I found God again (though I never really lost Him, I just wandered away a little), had a spiritual awakening, and was shown that I had hurt and influenced others in a way that was not acceptable for a Christian. I vowed to change. Now, I know that was just another step to me finding my purpose in God, which is to write about His grace and glory. How could I spew hate and anger from the same mouth as I praised God? I couldn’t. Here’s my post on Facebook:
I’m back!! I took a 10 day break from social media, my first time ever doing so. I was going to stay away from FB entirely due to censorship politics… I left angry and full of hatred. BUT…. over the last 10 days I’ve had a spiritual awakening unlike anything else in my life. I’ve been changed entirely. I’ve been shown my purpose in God’s will: my voice. So, I am coming back to Facebook, but not as the same person. I vow to no longer share controversial political issues, argue with others, or participate in anything negative. I was shown that MY negative comments and attitudes were influential on many others. I was using Facebook as an outlet for my own negative energy. As Christians, we are supposed to BUILD UP others instead of tear them down, we are supposed to show others the love and kindness Christ did. I was not doing that at all. So, today I come back with a changed heart, and a promise to you all that, even though I am imperfect and will most definitely stumble, I will do my absolute best to be the person Christ loves and guides. I will try to be a light in the darkness, and someone who shows my love for ALL people. As my friends I ask you to help me be accountable. Thank you for reading!!!My FaceBook post, November 23, 2020
I have done my best to stick to this since then. I’ve tried to avoid posting anything that could incite an argument, anything with excessive profanity, or anything that outwardly showed contempt for anyone else. I am a Christian, but I am imperfect. I will stumble and fail, but that doesn’t mean I should stop trying. Last night I was doing my evening Bible study and one of the verses had a cross reference to the book of James. I flipped to James (I try to always read the cross references!!); I was shocked at what I found, and just how much it applied to me.
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.James 1:26
It was at that precise moment I realized, that is exactly what the Holy Spirit had been preparing me for, over the last few weeks….it started with my FaceBook post, and finding this verse was the grand finale. I have always known that as a Christian, people look at us and judge us on our behavior. That’s why many Christians are called hypocrites, and are accused of “not practicing what we preach.” Thinking back, I remembered a verse specific to this…..
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.Luke 6: 43-45
This nearly stopped me in my tracks. I had to seriously go back and check my heart!!! I realized that my mouth was a direct reflection on my troubled heart. It’s no wonder I was speaking so badly. I was in internal turmoil. Only in my weakened state of depression was I able to discover this, because I was not listening before. More from James below…
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.James 1: 19-25
Another great passage that shows how to prepare our hearts and minds, and reminds us that by regularly seeking God’s word and guidance, we will not forget it….practice, practice, practice! Does practice make perfect?? Ha. Hahahahahahahahahaha.
No. That is something we will NEVER be. But, that is okay, because Jesus IS and WAS perfect – and because HE paid the price for our sins, when we trusted in Him and believed, we were sealed within Him. He is our intercessor. He is the way, the truth, the life. Think of it this way……going to court before a judge who decides if you get the death penalty or get set free. You’re probably terrified, I know I would be. FEAR NOT!!!! Because we believe, when we go up to the judge (God!) to answer for our sins, we have JESUS as our attorney. Jesus will step up and tell the Father, “I have paid for her sins, her debt is forgiven and she should be set free from eternal death and hell.”
We are imperfect. We are going to sin. We are going to falter and fail and get mad at ourselves and stumble in our faith, and think we are terrible, and anything else that can happen. But, during those times, we should rest in the fact that He forgives, He forgave, and that through our trials and tribulations, His grace and glory will shine when we come through them and still believe.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.2 Corinthians 12:9
Like Paul, I am happy to tell about my weaknesses and shortcomings, because it allows me to tell how God brought me through it, and what I learned. I am proud to be imperfect. When others notice my imperfection, it allows my light to shine…it brings notice to God. And when someone tells me, you better watch your mouth, you hypocrite, I can finally say “Yes, you are right. I shouldn’t be doing that. But let me tell you the GOOD news….”