Tag: witness

3 Questions to Ask Before You Post on Social Media

Recently, a friend of mine was waiting in her van to pick up her son at soccer practice, like you do when it’s summer, and you have kids and 99% of your time is spent shuttling kids to activities.

She idled there with the car running, two littles napping in the back seat, when suddenly she was startled by someone pounding on her window.  She had accidentally pulled partially into one of three handicapped spaces, waiting for her son to come to the car.  A mother with a handicapped child at home, didn’t approach her to question for better understanding, or respectfully point out her mistake, but instead, pounded and yelled repeatedly for her to move.

The offended mother then took a picture of my friend’s car with the license plate and posted it on Facebook, with publicly shaming remarks, a distortion of the situation, and no chance for explanation or apology. This escalated, with FB readers weighing in, suggesting all kinds of retribution against my friend who had made an innocent mistake.

So here’s what my friend did. After some investigation, she discovered the angry woman had a blog, so she read it all, trying to better understand her. She then wrote a letter of apology for her mistake, attaching some hydrangeas and a bag of peanut m&m’s (which she learned the woman liked from reading her blog), and dropped it in her mailbox.

The woman made it known she has no interest in talking with my friend, so that’s that, right?  I don’t think so. Who knows the pain this woman is carrying and how this small act of grace and peace-seeking may be a seed that will bear fruit in the future?

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

My friend’s experience is just one story – #ouch! Young, old, single, parent, retired… It doesn’t matter. Most of us navigate the mine field of social media on a daily basis. When we’re dinged we need to question for better understanding, and respond with grace. But what about our responsibility as posters?

What’s happened to civil discourse and respectful problem-solving?

 

Here are 3 additional questions we might ask before posting:  

  1. Is this helpful and constructive? Will this promote dialog and understanding, or am I lobbing a “hand-grenade”?

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Col. 4:6

2. Why do I want to post this? Is it coming from a place of hurt? need for attention? anger?

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23, 24

3. Would I feel comfortable saying this directly to my parents, employer, friends of a different faith or political party?

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building othersup according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph. 4:29

Those are a few of my thoughts. What would you add?

You might also be interested in this post on “Crucial Conversations”.

 

 

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Easter and a Lunch in Jerusalem

It’s Easter week and I do NOT have the gift of evangelism.  Easter delights me.  Evangelism…well, not so much.

Can you relate?

I was part of a Christian organization in college that taught us to “share our faith” (read: tell people how messed up they are and scare the Hell out of them.  Literally).  We had to go out and practice “sharing” the 4 Spiritual Laws with people (read: random, confused strangers).

It may have scarred me for life – not the tract, the way of “sharing”.

Or maybe I’m just using that as an excuse.  I have nothing against the 4 Spiritual Laws as a resource.  Ironically it is how I came to faith in Jesus.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was sitting around a table in Jerusalem eating lunch with a very diverse group of people.

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There were other Jesus-followers like me (you know, kind, sensitive, careful to not offend).

And there was our host, who pastors a church of mostly Messianic Jews.  He is passionate about bringing Jews into a relationship with Jesus – accepting Him as their Messiah.

Lastly there was a Jewish couple at the table who do not buy the Jesus as Messiah line.

I sat in the middle of the table with the “Burdened pastor guy” at one end, and the Jewish couple at the other.

What if the Jewish couple felt offended, uncomfortable, or judged?

What if the pastor “preached” at them (or served pork?).

What if my friend Matt Moberg asked a question that stepped on someone’s toes somewhere at the table and they slammed down their fork and stormed out?

I know that the Gospel can be offensive even if we don’t make it offensive with our delivery. (1 Cor. 1:23, Romans 9:33)

But it didn’t happen.  What also didn’t happen was an honest conversation where real questions were asked respectfully from both ends of the table.

The pastor shared his prayer – that the Jews would come to know Jesus as their savior.

The Jews at the table did not fall to their knees and “pray the prayer of salvation”.  Everyone was respectful and no blood was shed.

Afterwards it prompted several conversations in our group about our posture towards non-believers in Jesus, or explorers, or people of other faiths.

Augustine said “Preach the gospel everywhere. If necessary use words.”  Most of us, I think, have decided that words are really never necessary.

Are we actually denying our faith by our uber-sensitive silence?

I’ve been thinking…What if we, as Christians, saw ourselves as hosts at a luncheon, around a table with guests of varying experiences, just like the one I attended in Jerusalem?  Maybe we’d prioritize

  • People over projects.  If you’re getting to know someone, you want to KNOW about them and have them know about you…authentically.  Build on what you have in common, but be honest about where you have different perspectives or experience.
  • Love language over foreign language.  Genuinely care for the other.  Ask yourself  if you’re speaking a “language” they’ll relate to.
  • Conversation over conversion (which means more asking than telling)
  • Appetizers over All-you-can-eat Old Country Buffet. Offer tiny bites (like those mini desserts in shot glasses they have now).  Don’t try to cram a whole meal down someone’s throat.

Like I said, I’m really not good at this, so I’m trying to learn.  Are there experiences or thoughts you can share?

“But in your hears revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect…”  1 Peter 3:15

 

 

No More Bozos For Jesus, Part 2

People often ask me who my target audience is when I write this blog.  Well, I’ll tell you.  The person I think of is a twenty-something who is sitting down at a desk in a secular job and just needs a little reminder that God is there and intimately interwoven in the fabric of their day if they have eyes to see.  I pray that it will be encouraging and that it will help us take God seriously, but ourselves not so much.

That said, of course I’m grateful that anyone shows up here, regardless of my “target”!!  I write this also to pay attention to the work of God in my life and hold myself accountable too.  There are universal themes we all struggle with regardless of our age or season of life.

Anyway, all that to say that yesterday when I wrote about the extremes of being afraid of being a “Bozo for Jesus” or of denying my faith, it was because it’s something I need to pay attention to and try to get better at.  I’m going to take a risk and share a tiny way that played out in my life yesterday… Continue reading

No More Bozos For Jesus?

This morning I was praying for some twenty-somethings I know who have kind of wandered away from God.  They’re really enjoying the partying hard thing, the sex without strings thing, and carpe without commitment.  I was praying that God might draw them back to Himself – remind them of the grace and meaning and joy to be found in dependence on Him.

But I have a Confession:  I don’t have the gift of “evangelism” and I often think I don’t care as much as I should about the souls of those far from God.  The culture of “live and let live” has immunized me.  Plus there’s the risk of making anyone feel like a “project” or being labeled one of “those” Christians with pat answers and tracts in place of candy at Halloween that scares me.  Unknown-1

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Just a Quote

“Our legacy is the trail of bread crumbs we leave leading toward Jesus.  Make it look like you lived in a bakery.”  Bob Goff

Reflecting on my “crumbs” from yesterday…Where did they lead people?

Were they crumbs of grace?  Inclusion?  Value?  Encouragement?

What about you?

Haircuts and Jesus

The other day I was getting my hair cut by Mary who’s cut it for several years.  We’ve become friends of sorts (as much as you can when you only talk in the beauty shop every 5 weeks) and have shared quite a bit about our lives.  I’m not positive where she is in terms of a relationship with Jesus.  I think she believes, but maybe has not chosen to nurture that relationship or be part of a faith community, or think much about faith and how it could impact her life.  That said, she’s a really good person.  🙂

Anyway, I was thinking after I left, “If she didn’t know I was a Christ-follower (which she does), would ANYTHING in my tone, actions, or reactions, or the content of what I said to her seem different than any other woman who sits in her chair every day?”   I mean, how Jesus-y is reading People magazine and talking about movies for Pete’s sake?

That got me thinking about a woman who was in my life many years ago…an informal mentor who had a huge impact on me.  A Jesus-like woman who epitomized the verse “Let your speech be always with grace.”  Her name was (and is) Coke (short for Colleen) Evans. It’s probably been 20 years since I’ve seen her.  Even more than the impact of her words, I carry with me “snapshots”…memories of times when her posture and her expression and her actions shouted “grace” with surround sound clarity.

Snapshot #1.  We were at a huge church party in a private home.  People helped themselves to food in a buffet line and then spread throughout the large colonial home.  I was having a blast.  So many fun people and lively conversations.  I had gotten my food and was walking down a hallway when I passed a tiny den.  There were only two people in the room sitting on a small couch in deep conversation.  One was an extremely  unattractive, and socially awkward woman.  And sitting next to her was Coke, looking at her with love, hanging on this woman’s every word as if she was the most important woman in the universe.

Like Jesus if He had been at the party.

Snapshot #2.  There was a concert at church in the downstairs fellowship hall.  As I walked in from the back I noticed the man who was the most bitter, mean-spirited man I knew.  And he was a vocal critic of Coke’s husband, the senior pastor.  But there she was, full of grace, sitting next to him, and leaning in with love in her eyes, caring for him, and listening with single-minded attention. 

Like Jesus, if He had come to the concert.

Here’s what strikes me as I think back about Coke, and ask my own question about any possible Jesus-y difference Mary might notice in me:  as much as Coke spoke words of grace, it was more powerful that her whole demeanor was one of loving, gracious attention.  When she was with you it was like you were the most important person in her world She would lean in, look you deep in the eyes, lay a gentle hand on your arm and treat you like you were of infinite worth, even though the rest of world might be ready to write you off.  More than her words, Coke had a posture of grace.  And that’s what made her different.

Kind of like Jesus.

Today I’m asking myself again, “Is there a difference in my life marked by grace that anyone would notice and think of Jesus?”  What about you?

Who’s a “Coke” in your life?


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