“For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine . . . and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 This week’s assault on Facebook is 2 Timothy 4:3-4, with assorted memes and photos (one is a shot of the verse, in situ, […]
“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Some of the most insensitive sayings, passed on via social media memes, are posted by people who call themselves Christians. There is a lamentable desire to encapsulate and solve problems in one-sentence increments, and rather than post Scripture — which generally needs elucidation to be properly misinterpreted — good people who should be thinking pass on pithy sayings from seminar gurus, Christian celebrities, and the never-ending supply of Pro Positive Pop Christian “ministers.”
A recent banality scolds people for complaining about their boss.
“Be grateful you’ve got a job,” is its advice. Well, that really helps to get through another stomach churning, gut wrenching day under the thumb of an insecure, incompetent overseer who threatens the very existence of our employment in order to maintain the security, and advancement, of his or hers.
In effect, when we speak up about the wrongs in life, we are shushed by the accusation that we are complaining little whiners who don’t focus on being grateful for what we have.
Admittedly, there is a tiny nugget of truth in this — a pessimistic outlook in which we’re constantly picking life apart and finding it faulty, isn’t the best path to peace, contentment, humility and wisdom.
In Our Happy Place
However — and this is a big however — denying that problems exist, and settling into a mentally narcotized Happy State in which we forego thinking, and most importantly expressing, anything negative because being negative is so very, very naughty, isn’t the path to wisdom either — although it does lead one to an attitude of self-righteousness and judgment upon others:
“People shouldn’t complain about the price of food — they should just be grateful that they’ve got food on the table! (and perhaps if they worked a little harder, and smarter, like I do, and trusted God more — like I do — they WOULD have all their needs met!”
Despite the plethora of smooth, cultured voices who purport to speak for Him, God does not post social media memes, and His message — it’s a deep one — focuses on His love for us, His desire that we be more like Him, and His willingness to patiently and compassionately work with us in this process. Nowhere do we find Jesus saying,
“Suck up and shut up, guys! Quit your whining and bellyaching and give thanks to Dad, for His sake! We need to see an Attitude of Gratitude here!”
It’s Always Our Fault
And yet, this is a popular message that people eat up, swallow, and regurgitate onto social media memes. If things are going wrong, we’re told, it’s because
- We don’t work hard enough,
- We don’t have enough faith,
- We speak negatively,
- We haven’t sufficiently thanked God.
Always, always, the onus is upon us to perform — to “get things right with God” first before He will bother listening to us, and the end result of this in our prayer life logically looks like this:
“Dear God: Thank you for everything, and for all the problems in my life. I am grateful for them because they all work together for good.
“As I am unable to admit that things worry me or bother me or make me angry without coming across as negative, I will not talk to You about what hurts me, and I will work very hard this week to get past my emotions.
“I’ll get back to you when I’ve got everything solved.”
Truth: It’s Worth Seeking
So much better is the message of truth, in which we are urged to cast — hurl, throw, pitch, chuck, and dump — our very real concerns, fears, doubts, pain, anger, exasperation, and frustration upon the only Person in the Universe who can actually do something about them. It doesn’t matter whether we’re justified or not — God is perfectly able to sort through the detritus and get to the literal heart of the matter.
He already knows the deep, hidden resources of our hearts and soul — it is we who frequently do not realize what is burbling about in there. And as long as we insistently deny that there are issues, we remain blind, and deaf,
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I am constantly amazed at the number of self-help speakers out there — and even more amazing are the number of people who listen to everything they say.
Posts complementing this one are