Paul tells us in Romans chapter 12 verse 18 (NKJV) “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” He goes on to tell us in verse 19 (NKJV) “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves”
The Message version relates Romans chapter 12 verses 18 through 19 as:
“Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.””
There are many times in life that we feel that another Christian has acted ungodly towards us. In these times it is easy for us to desire to defend our self and to “set the record straight” When we come to these times it is important for us to take time to pray and heal from the sting of the situation. In our day of social media, a trend of voicing our opinions without concern for how others may perceive it seems the norm.
As Christians we are to be concerned about others as much as we are concerned about our self. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:39 (NKJV)
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’. In our use of social media, we need to consider how our current emotions and thoughts are Christ-like.
Paul gives us further instructions in Philippians chapter 4 in verses 4-7 (NKJV):
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Paul goes on to say in verse 8:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Paul tells us as Christians several things in this short passage to the church in Philippi. Let’s explore them further:
- First, no matter what the situation we need to learn to rejoice. This is confirmed in other scriptures throughout the Bible. Even if the situation is difficult and you are the target of unfair and maybe even ungodly behaviors we still need to proceed in an attitude of rejoicing in the Lord.
- Secondly, as we portray Christ to the world and yes, even to other Christians we are to be gentle. In fact, we are to be known by that gentleness.
- Thirdly, we should not react in anxiousness. So how do we do this, after all, when we have been mistreated our emotions are raw and inflamed. But Paul did not leave us with this question unanswered. He tells us to get the anxiousness out that we are to go before God in prayer and supplication. In that time with God we are to remain thankful and we are to make our request known to God. In other words, using the words we learned from Doctor Timothy Davis in the Cleansing Seminar series, we are to have a “dung session” with God. Pour out our pain, let him know that we do not understand. Allow Jesus to be your friend that sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24). If we are not able to get though the situation alone we are to call on a Godly counselor that we can trust to get the “dung” out.
- Fourthly, when we do as Paul instructs there is a great result that is beyond our soul, it is birthed in our spirit by Holy Spirit. A promise that Christ left the Church is fulfilled. Jesus promised in John chapter 14 and verse 27; “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”. What a grace gifting that occurs in that moment. As Paul writes in the passage in Philippians: “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. As believers we need to do our “knee” work in prayer and allow Holy Spirit to fulfill his role as counselor. This needs to occur prior to reacting in anxiousness and speak, or should I say write an online post.
- Finally, in verse 8 Paul then gives us a list of the things we are to meditate on:
- Whatever is true
- Whatever is honorable and worthy of respect
- Whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word
- Whatever is pure and wholesome
- Whatever is lovely and brings peace
- Whatever is admirable and of good repute
- If there is any excellence
- If there is anything worthy of praise
The Amplified Bible gives us better insight on the word meditate. You are to “think continually on these things.” You are to “center your mind on them and implant them in your heart.” In other words; we are to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh. Galatians chapter 5 verse 16 puts it this way:
“But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts].” (AMP)
Pastor Timothy Davis puts it this way: we are to walk in alignment with the spirit. Our body nor our soulish realm should guide us. All guidance should come through our spirit that is fully submitted to Gods’ spirit.
Now let us consider some things we should take from this Bible study and extract some questions to guide us when making a post to our social media pages:
- Have I prayed through to the point that my emotions are no longer inflamed?
- Would I want someone to post the same thing about me?
- Will this post bring peace to all or will it inflame another?
- Do my words include things told me in confidence?
- Are my words based upon hear say?
- Do my words honor or dishonor God?
- Do my words come against God’s anointed?
- Have I checked my heart to insure I am not carrying an offense?
- Have I been able to be forgive?
- Do I think about the situation now in peace or does it still hurt to speak or think about it?
- Am I sure that what I believe is truthful – is it based upon direct evidence?
- Am I able to articulate my comments in an honorable manner?
- Am I speaking about others in an attitude of respect?
- Are the words I use pure and wholesome?
- Will the things I say bring others peace?
- Will my words be considered by others as admirable and will they produce a good report?
- Are my words praiseworthy or not?
If you honest with yourself before the Lord and you can answer these questions in a Christ-like manner, then you will be representing Christ appropriately. If they are not Christ-like, then they should remain with you and your Godly circle of counselor and prayer partners.
Pastor Bob Adkins