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Where’s the Church? When Church People air their Pain on Social Media

January 16, 2016

 

As soul winners we know that as much as social media can be a mission field, it can also be a cesspool.  Then again, look at some of the places where Jesus ventured in order to reach the lost.

I’ve seen many “church people” airing their pain and frustration on social media and many Christians admonish them for doing so – I myself have been guilty. Recently, though, the Lord has been working on me about this, showing me things, and I believe it is time to share them with you.

While you see a lot of people – A LOT – telling folks they should not air their “dirty laundry” on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram – or whatever – you don’t see them reaching out to that person.

See, that behavior it not the problem; it is the symptom of a problem.

Consider this: People who are in a committed, stable relationship with Christ and are grounded in a supportive, loving church family don’t have a need to attention seek.

Yes, the relationship with Christ should be enough, but for many people it simply isn’t. I wholly believe that that is part of what Hebrews 10:25 means. It is talking about more than just “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” – going to church to worship and learn about God (what most of us have heard our entire lives that that is what church is supposed to be).

We often forget the second part, but exhorting one another – encouraging one another, all the more faithfully as we see the day approaching. See, the closer we get to Christ’s return, the more painful and vile the world will become. Because we have been called out of the world by Christ, we often will find it all the more painful.

So when you look at an “attention seeking” post on Facebook, two questions should immediately come to mind. 1) Where’s the church? Is this person a part of a church? Why isn’t their church family supporting them? And 2) What can be done to get the plugged into a supportive, loving church family?

It is our responsibility as Christians to support our brothers and sisters in Christ. That is the mark of a unified body – people feel that they have a safe place to go, where they can find Godly counsel, people aren’t too busy with their own lives to offer support and hope.

Wake up pew warmers! Your pastor can’t do it all! And he shouldn’t. When we pick up our cross and follow Christ, when we separate from the world, we are a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD (1 Peter 2:9). We are a chosen generation. We have a responsibility to reach the lost, but sometimes the lost exist within our own congregational family!

Consider this. On the average, people go to church on Sunday morning, attend a mid-week service, and some have an evening of prayer. That’s roughly 5 hours a week that they are in church and spending time with their church family. If the church has an evening service, add another 2 hours. Now, there are 168 hours in a week which means that even the most consistent Christians are only in church about 3% of the week.

Now, if you only gave your family 3% of your time each week, how close do you think you would be? If you only gave your spouse 3% of your time each week, how long do you think your marriage would last?

The problem is not that people are seeking attention on social media. The problem is that people are hurting and feel that they have nowhere to go.

Reaching a lost and hurting world, sharing the Gospel, and showing others the love of Christ is not an option if you have committed your life to Christ – it is mandated by the word of God.

That requires our time, our attention, our sacrifice – and it’s that last part that Christians really seem to struggle with.

So you can beat them up all you want about the things they post, but what are you doing about it? Instead of admonishing them for what they post, have you tried reaching out to them?

Worse, have you see one of these posts and just passed it on by? If someone is posting their personal issues on such a public forum, that isn’t attention seeking, that’s help seeking. Now, granted, some people don’t want the type of help that they need and they will reject it. Still, we have to establish a support system for each other, to support each other and to be there for each other because, folks, it isn’t going to get easier to live for God – it’s going to get continually harder and we are all going to be subject to attacks by the enemy.

When is a lamb most vulnerable? When it is separated from the herd. That could be it wandered off, perhaps it was grazing and didn’t realize how far it went. It doesn’t really matter how the lamb was separated; what’s important is that it is found and brought back into the fold.

Every day I hear people, Christians, talking about feeling that they don’t belong in their church, like they don’t fit in. What’s really bad is that when someone struggles with personal issues such as illness or tragedy, that can cause them to separate from the body – out of sight, out of mind.

Whatever happened to visiting shut ins and reaching out to those whose church attendance has fallen away? Then again, how bonded to the church and body can they really get when they are only exposed to it 3% of the week? That’s one of the biggest reasons we don’t have unity in the church?

Where’s the church? YOU are the church, whether you preach from the pulpit, sign in the choir, or sit on a pew. As Holy Ghost filled, Jesus name baptized Christians, you are of a royal priesthood. I am of a royal priesthood. It is what we are ultimately called to be but most of us aren’t anywhere near to living it.

I’m preaching to myself here too. We talk about “having church” but church isn’t a verb – and it means a whole lot more than what most think. Revisit Hebrews 10:25 – the whole verse. It speaks volumes. Yes, it is a place to go worship and touch God, but I can worship and touch God in my own living room. That tells me that there’s more to it and when you read the entire verse you can see what it is.

So the next time you see someone, especially someone from your church, airing their pain on social media, don’t rebuke them – especially not in public. Don’t like the post, don’t comment, but do send a private message to them, reach out, encourage them. Better yet, give them a call, go visit them, or go to lunch with them.

Sometimes a person will choose to comment on the post, writing words of encouragement and love. Unfortunately, that is often lost in the wave of negativity that the original post initiates. If you really want to reach them, do it privately.

Now, this does not mean that you have to succumb to their despair. The saying that misery loves company is very true. What it does mean is that sometimes when a person is in the pit of despair they just need someone to throw them a rope – and sometimes they will slip into it again and again.

That’s just human nature – and even Christians have it.

Don’t let them suck you in or bring you down, but don’t leave them there to wither and die either.

 

Photo Credit:  Salvatore Vuono at freedigitalphotos.net
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