Like most people, my Facebook news feed has been overtaken by links to political blogs and statements regarding this upcoming election. Many contain strong statements or “proofs” of why one candidate or the other is “bad for America” or “someone a follower of Jesus would never vote for.” (I have both Republicans and Democrats as friends.)
This has become a topic of conversation with friends who share similar faith values as me. We all share a concern that some friends who profess faith have shared items that can be a little over the top, even when we agree with the person about which candidate to vote for. The concern is always how to respond and / or communicate without alienating people with deep feelings that we are trying to introduce to Jesus. I’ve even shared a couple of blogs and photos encouraging people to think twice before posting. They usually receive a positive response from friends who cover the broad spectrum of political discussion in our country.
Though it is appropriate to caution friends to think twice about how what they post will affect those we know who have not yet met Jesus, there is a second attitude we should consider in our Facebook conduct during this election cycle: how we choose to read something. Some people have considered unfriending offenders or just avoiding Facebook and Twitter all together. I don’t know if I can go quite that far. I usually want to stay in contact with those people. If they happen to post something more personal, I want to celebrate the joyous events and pray for them in the times of need.
I’m finding the “Hide…” feature to be a great tool these days. If a friends post something that I find over the top, I can simply hide that post or perhaps all posts linked from the source pages that feed these attitudes. This allows me to still love my friend without letting a particular offense get in the way.
That really is the nature of love within the Body of Christ. Even in the first century church there were times that fellow believers offended each other. The epistles are filled with examples of leaders addressing an offense in a particular congregation. Peter addresses this in one of his letters to a group of churches. “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” ( 1 Peter 4:8) Love helps us to overlook the offense and find more appropriate times to address it privately (perhaps over a cup of coffee) and not over Facebook or Twitter.
Lets learn to let love cover (or “hide…”) a multitude of offenses.