Clap Back Christians

The fruit of the Spirit is wit, argumentation, debate, narcissism, opinions, clap backs. Against such things there is no law. 

When I survey my heart, our churches, and fellow believers on social media, these things seem to be the core of the Christian way of life.

Long gone are the ways of Jesus that are outlined in Galatians 5, which I woefully misquoted just a moment ago. Instead of being loving, patient, and kind, we bicker incessantly over the most minuscule things. Instead of being self-controlled, we have to get our opinion out about everything at every moment. Man alive, I fight this in my heart (never perfectly) every day. I see something in the news, or on social media, and I just have to have a good response to it.

What has become of our witness? Is our rudeness, flippancy, and sarcasm really drawing people to Jesus (not to mention drawing them to come to a different conclusion in regard to any debate we are facilitating)?

Now, I am not saying that being vocal on Facebook or Instagram or whatever form of social media you’re on in regard to faith or even other things is detrimental to the Kingdom of God.

But the way we go about sharing these things is so crucially important.

If you scoured my social media, you’d see (I think) very little regarding hot button issues. Last Summer I got into a fit of anger and posted a vehement, unfair take on gun control. Since then, I’ve felt led by God to keep my opinions to myself, to private discussions, to gentle conversations. You’ll never see me posting about politics. Come talk to me about it, sure. But you’re not going to get a vocal, public, social media take on these things.

I honestly am proud of myself, that by God’s grace I haven’t said a word about Covid-19 policies. I’ve just said that life sucks sometimes and we can cling to Jesus.

For whatever reason, we prize the well-argued posts. I’ve seen countless Christans (including me) say things on social media that they would never say to someone’s face.

Souls are not won through social media arguments.

Souls are won by living in such a way that illuminates the kindness, gentleness, love, and patience of Jesus. Souls are won by being self-controlled. Not every debate is worth getting into. Not very conversation needs to get a response from us.

I fall into the habit of thinking that I need to vocalize my voice into every topic, every scenario, every hot button issue.

I think, “If I don’t, who will?”

Maybe, just maybe, we can let things slide.

Now, I’m on social media often. My side ministry of Roach Ramblings is social-media driven. I’m on it. But social media is ultimately not the place for the transformation of lives through argumentation.

I love the take that Jesus engaged the false teachings of the 1st century world during His life and ministry. I love that take because it misses the mark (in my opinion, which is often in fact wrong). The mission of Jesus (as shown to us in the Gospel accounts) was not to debate the religious leaders of the day or to correct heresy. Now, these arguments happened as people were stupid enough to engage God Himself in debate. But Jesus did not seek them out in a malicious, self-absorbed way. The God of the universe in human flesh did not feel the need to correct every errant belief, every errant political view (He in fact doesn’t seem to care much at all about this besides teaching submission and humility). He did not go about the countryside engaging false teachings or interpretations of the Torah.

He went about preaching the Kingdom of God. He went about healing the sick. He went about performing miracles. He wasn’t sarcastic. He wasn’t clapping back at others.

I see in us the tendency to disrespect our elders who we disagree with. Gone are the days of charitable disagreement. Rather we must now be quick to degrade, whether intentionally or unintentionally those who we disagree with.

Church, enough is enough.

Brother or sister in Christ, enough is enough.

May we live with a profound kindness. A profound gentleness. A profound self-control. May our church’s false gods of sarcasm, wit, and argumentation come down. May we again uplift the qualities of the Spirit of God in our lives and in our words, digital or otherwise.

Let me close with the real fruit of the Spirit as written down in Galatians 5.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

In His Name,

Nate Roach

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Private Sin

There are countless stories each and every day of well-known politicians, athletes, pastors, and entertainers falling from grace in the eyes of their followers due to the exposing of private sin. Most recent in this list is comedian Kevin Hart, who had adulterous actions caught on camera. His apology has gone viral, as has his sinful decision. Now Kevin Hart is by no means a stand-up guy, and I’m by no means endorsing any of his comedy. Portrait of Kevin Hart

His circumstances are just another reminder that we live in a world inundated with cameras, and people carry around high-quality cameras in their phones everywhere they go. There is not really private sin anymore.

In light of God’s omnipresence, there truly is no such thing as private sin.

My sinful thoughts, words, and actions happen because of a myriad of reasons, one of them being my forgetfulness about God’s presence.

If we were truly to understand that God is ever-present with us, it would bring so much encouragement and joy. At the same time however, it would hopefully give us vigilance in our fight against sin.

There is nowhere that we can go to escape from His presence.

“Am I a God who is only near” – this is the Lord’s declaration – “and not a God who is far away? Can a person hide in secret places where I cannot see him?” – the Lord’s declaration. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” – the Lord’s declaration. – Jeremiah 23:23-24

God fills the heavens and the earth. There is no secret place for us as humans to hide from His presence. So much of our sin struggles would be crippled and ultimately defeated if we were able to meditate upon and get this reality of God’s omnipresence into our hearts and minds.

Pornography would hold no power over the lives of God’s people if we were to meditate upon the omnipresence of God.

Domestic violence would hold no power over the lives of God’s people if we were to meditate upon the omnipresence of God.

Deception and lack of integrity would hold no power over the lives of God’s people if we were to meditate upon the omnipresence of God.

Private sin in general would hold no power over the lives of God’s people if we were to meditate upon the omnipresence of God.

Granted, it may not always be so black and white as this. Yet I truly believe that if we were to speak about, think on, discuss, pray through, and meditate upon the omnipresence of God, we would see the glistening vices of our various sin struggles become powerless against us. Would we slip-up in our thoughts and words and actions from time to time? Probably so. But the lifestyles and repeated offenses of private sins would be removed of their power if we remembered that truth.

May we be vigilant against sin.

Every single one of us would likely hate to have our sins revealed publicly and virally to the entire world. I do not envy Kevin Hart’s situation. I do know however that I am guilty of sins that I don’t tweet or post about. There are thoughts and words and actions that are grievances against God that are not public knowledge. Every single one of us is in that boat. We must understand not only the reality of God’s knowledge about our sin, but the amazing reality of God’s forgiveness for each and every one of our sins.

We should be overflowing in thankfulness. I’ll have Jen Wilkin say it better than me:

The fact that he sees all, yet, against all expectation, stands ready to forgive should awaken a gratitude of the deepest kind, a desire to be the same person in public that we are behind closed doors – a person who thinks, acts, and speaks as one who fears the Lord. A person who understands that the limitless presence of God leaves no allowance for a life of practical atheism – professing that an omnipresent God exists and then living as if he does not. 

You could take the omnipresence of God and use it in a not so good way.

If I’m fighting against sin just because of the guilt and fear of knowing that God’s watching at all times, then I’m treating Him like a divine Santa Claus who I want to impress in order that I can receive good gifts from Him.

God isn’t a divine Santa.

(I never thought I would type that sentence ever)

However, let the omnipresence of God strengthen and encourage you in your fight against sin. Let the omnipresence of God and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit lead you into battle against the flaming arrows of Satan’s temptations and tricks. When you are faced with temptation, you can cry out to the Lord WHO IS THERE WITH YOU and find the strength to fight back. Will you be perfect in your war against sin? By no means. But you can use the omnipresence of God as an encouragement, a resource, a weapon.

Brother or sister in Christ, there is no such thing as private sin. It’s a myth.

God is with you, so be vigilant and be confident.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

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