by Evangelist Joyce L. Rodgers
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:28-31 NIV
If you’re like me, I’m sure you’re noticing the incredible frequency with which “a lack of love” is being displayed on social media on pretty much an hourly basis. Disagreeing with someone’s political, social or religious views is one thing – viciously attacking them with one’s words and posts is another issue entirely!
I recently witnessed such an attack on Twitter. The post, a political one speaking favorably of a woman who recently announced her candidacy for president. The poster was excited by the candidate’s announcement, and posed her speculations concerning the candidate’s chances.
A virtual bloodbath ensued.
Those who disagreed with the Tweet had the option available to everyone on social media: simply scroll past and ignore the posts you don’t agree with. Peace is preserved, no one is the wiser concerning your personal views concerning the merits (or lack thereof) of that particular post, and as far as you and the poster are concerned, you each can go on having a nice day.
Disagree with the post, and feel compelled to share your opinion? That’s fine; after all, the original poster invited commentary by making their thoughts public and sharing them on their social media feed. Sharing an opinion is fine–yet why does sharing an opinion have to involve making demeaning, belittling, antagonistic, hostile, offensive, negative, ungodly (see where I’m going with this?) comments? Unfortunately, I’m not referring to unsaved people–my observations of shameful online behavior involve people who name the name of Christ!
In this month’s scripture passage, a teacher of the law heard and observed the Sadducees attempting to debate with Jesus concerning a hypothetical situation marriage after the resurrection. He read heard the post discussion, andcommented inserted himself into the conversation. In response, Jesus schooled the man on the two greatest commandments, informing him if he observed them, he would meet God’s requirements for righteous living: “Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Imagine the conflicts that would be avoided – both online and off – if we all observed and practiced Jesus’ words! See something online you don’t like? Keep scrolling, step away from the keyboard or put down your phone for a few minutes if need be. Hear something you find personally offensive? Count to 10, and then ask the Holy Spirit to help your words to be “seasoned with grace, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6).
In this month celebrating the virtues of love, let’s remember these two most important commandments given by Jesus and live by them. Life is so much simpler and drama free when we love God with all our heart, and measure our interactions with others by the same scale of love we use to measure ourselves. Love God – and love your neighbor!