You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
How easily we forget the simple rules of the road of life when a keyboard or smartphone is at our fingertips. Believe it or not, it is more profitable, in lives and livelihood, to stick to the basics.
The Internet and Social Media are replete with mean people. It is not a majority, but sometimes it feels like it. And oftentimes we can feed into it, or off of it and, before we know it, become like those with whom we associate. At least I know I do. I can also be one of those mean people that starts the thing off…
And still, the Bible and life of Jesus gives us guidance into how we should evangelize and do business on Social Media. How awesome is our Lord that He gives us instruction on something that was unfathomable – inconceivable – two thousand years ago?
Jesus knew about Social Media and that he has some words of wisdom for us. In fact, perhaps those words were in what he did, not in what he said.
But what he said happens to coincide with what he was doing, so much so that this event is captured in three of the four Gospels. Jesus goes to Levi’s house for a banquet, where he eats and associates with sinners. Tax collectors and other dregs of society are his fellow guests:
Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn ]what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
So, putting aside the fact that we are all sinners and Jesus came here for us and everyone who sins, let’s ask a simple question: If we are called to be Jesus to everyone (Love our neighbor as He loves us), and he shows us how to be Him in these Gospel readings by His going to be with sinners…
Why aren’t we hanging out with sinners on Social Media? That’s where they are.
If I am a Man Husband Dad, am I where the sinners are – on our child’s profile and in their “circle;” with my wife in her profiles; and amongst my peers to help them and me with my accountability?
We are called to preach against the seven deadly, capital, cardinal sins of Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride, EXACTLY right where sinners are, and in a way that loves them as Jesus loves them – and in a place where the only way out is with Jesus.
The only place the sinners at Levi’s house could go once Jesus walked in was out – and they either went out with Him or without Him, but they left and were permanently touched.
Why wouldn’t we do the same, given the opportunity? It is our calling as a Man Husband Dad, whether or not we are clergy or laity.
The Church has always gone where the sinners are, as Jesus went, like to the sick a physician goes – to heal those who are ill. Jesus never said that the doctor wasn’t sick, too…he just said the physician comes to heal the sick.
So, though we put aside the idea that we are sinners for the sake of the illustration above, let’s bring it back into the picture, because certainly if we were to evangelize and love people as a Man Husband Dad should, we will get called on the carpet for it. We will be told that we are not perfect and so cannot expect others to be perfect.
But the faulted messenger does not make the message faulted.
By being a Man Husband Dad we have to be DOING Man Husband Dad stuff…which makes us better and increases our credibility to evangelize and correct.
So be bold. Stand against wrong in all of its forms online – our parents did it before us when we were standing in line. And they had no compunction about correcting children who were not there own. Be willing to get the flame wars and names called that come with the territory.
You may even think you are being persecuted in return, or even crucified.
Someone who went before us has made it clear that it is worth it.