Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Discussions On Social Media Can Be Destructive

Matthew 7:1

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

Of late – it seems to me – some people have allowed their emotions to inform their political views. Social Media has a lot to do with this because things that might have only been discussed in the home or with close friends can be discussed in the public arena. I’ve gotten caught up in it as well from time to time and once again find myself retreating from Social Media – because I do not want to cause division in the church or among my friends. Discussions on Social Media can be destructive and divisive. I tend to be more conservative than many of my local colleagues and even some of my friends. As tolerant as we might think we are – we seem to have trouble discussing things and being hospitable to those who have a different view.

In the last few weeks – even months – even years – our immigration policy has been debated ad nauseam – it seems – on Social Media. Some colleagues and friends seem to be in favor of open borders – some seem to be in favor of stricter border control. Some want to call folks who are in our country illegally – undocumented – others would simply say they are criminals who are here illegally and should be arrested and returned to their homelands. Some say we should enforce our laws – some say the laws are bad and should be ignored. Some say we should improve or correct the current laws – others say the laws are good – we simply need to enforce them.

Most recently my Social Media feeds have been filled with the current situation where persons who have illegally crossed our borders have been detained and if they have children with them – the children are not detained with the parent/guardian/person they crossed the border with illegally. The outcry has been about the separation of families. On the surface it seems like a good point – we should be pro-family as Americans. Yet according to some fact checking I did – families have been separated from their parents since 2009 and every year since when they enter our country illegally until their parents can be properly processed. I am left to wonder why the outcry now – is it politically charged?

So – what is the answer? Some have said we should keep the families together at all costs. Some have said the parents could have come into our country legally and they wouldn’t have been separated. Some have mentioned that US criminals are jailed – and their families are left to fend for themselves – they are not kept together. Some say some of the illegals are seeking asylum in our country – some say there is a legal way to do this. And the debate rages.

My wife and I were talking about this last night as we lay in bed. She continues to remind me that none of us has all of the answers or all of the information. Most of us have the information our news channel of choice gives us – and of course – all news channels – it seems – has a bent or angle to push. News programs these days are all about the almighty dollar and pleasing their constituents – it seems – and care little about simply giving news reports. The left leaning channels/programs argue and opinionate to the left – the right leaning channels/programs argue and opinionate to the right.

So where does that leave us? Often – we’re left arguing or debating something we do not have all of the information on. We may think we have insight and we may have an opinion that we think is right and others should hear it – but often we are ignorant – to a degree – of the facts – and simply argue from our slant or opinion.

Today’s passage hit me this morning – about not judging others. Of course – the passage is referring to an eternal judgment – in my opinion – and that is of course above our pay-grade as I like to say. If we were left to pluck the weeds and try to save the wheat – we would often pluck the wheat and get it wrong.

Many of us think we could do a better job than the current President or Attorney General. We have had people who think that way about every administration. The immigration issue is not new – several administrations – it seems – have kicked the issue down the road. Laws have been in place that some have ignored – and some have tried – half-heartedly at times – to do what they thought best.

So where does that leave us? Scripture clearly tells us to love our neighbors – it clearly says we should welcome strangers – but it also talks about obeying the government over us (not as easy thing to do for early Christians being persecuted and killed by Rome) and to give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. Is travel between nations as easy as in Jesus’ day (when His family fled Judea for Egypt) or has that changed? Do we allow too many or not enough immigrants per year into our country? Most of us do not have enough information to make such calls. We simply grab hold of an issue that sparks our emotions and spout out our judgment on those we disagree with on any given subject.

I got out of the discussion when friends told me I was on the wrong side of history and that I was hard hearted when I disagreed with some of their views. Such harsh words from folks I considered friends reminded me of the foolishness of discussions on Social Media and our judgments of others.

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 7:1–5 – 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

I don’t expect today’s devotional thought to stop anyone from spouting their thoughts on Social Media (this will post on my Social Media pages after all). But I will strive to not enter into the debate with others – because I do not have all of the information I need to make an intelligent argument and even if I did – Social Media discussions will only harm my friendships. If someone wants to know what I believe about something – they only need to ask – one on one. Discussions on Social Media can be destructive and divisive.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

June 20, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Great message! Thank you! Guilty on both sides, so I stop commenting or even reading, but then allow myself to get sucked right back in.


    Comment by Dan Runnels | June 20, 2018 | Reply

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