Whatever happened to grace?
Not God’s grace for us. That’s more sure than tomorrow’s sunrise.
But what about giving grace to others? Assuming the best of them instead of the worst? Giving people – especially fellow believers – the benefit of the doubt?
It seems like we’re growing more polarized every day, not more grace-filled.
Memes Aren’t Facts – And YouTube Isn’t Research
Too often recently, I'm confronted by angry Christians – both online and in person – because I committed the supposed sin of commenting positively about someone who’s been declared a heretic. Not by an ecclesiastical counsel that dispassionately assessed actual evidence, but by a random blogger’s hit piece.
They attack with red-faced outbursts such as "I can't believe you support someone who said (a misquote from a Facebook meme)!" and "Didn't you see the YouTube video exposing them as a false prophet? I'll send you the link."
It's not like they’re angry at me because I was supporting actual heresy or heretics. This was because I dared to quote or affirm a fellow Christian minister with a stellar track record of Christian ministry who misspoke once.
Sometimes the minister in question didn’t even misspeak, they were misquoted or lied about. But that one error, real or imagined, carries more weight with some people than a lifetime of faithful ministry.
Want To Tear Down Other Believers? Count Me Out
In the era of social media, there's nothing I can do to stop the naysayers and self-appointed moral/theological police from outing you or me for offenses, both real and imagined. But there's one thing I can do about it.
I can refuse to be one of them.
So here’s my pledge to my fellow Christians.
If you say you love and serve Jesus, I'm not going to look for reasons to doubt the sincerity of your faith.
When you misspeak or you are misquoted, I will believe your apology and/or explanation, rather than your misstep or misquote.
I won't give greater credence to the negative words others say about you than I will give to the positive words and actions you’ve spent a lifetime exemplifying.
Better Naïve Than Cynical
We tend to get what we look for.
If we look for the worst in people, we’ll get bucketloads of it. If we look for the best, we’ll get that.