I received a comment on Instagram last week that got me thinking. So often “insta-trolls” come out of the woodwork in an attempt to create further divide. These accounts try wreaking havoc by intentionally commenting opposite beliefs on other’s posts, while operating from ghost accounts with no following and no posts of their own. I usually delete and ignore, given the lack of courage displayed by using such accounts to spread more divide by posting judgmental or blasphemous messages. Spreading hate through a fake profile is no way to spark true congruity or lasting change.
One of my recent posts on Instagram referenced God’s love for us all. The referenced divider (commenter) questioned God’s love, asking how God could love us when we don’t all share the same blessings and life experiences. They then referenced Matthew 19:21, asking how I can completely ignore this passage as a Christian.
Jesus said to him “if you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Matthew 19:21
I don’t believe in weaponizing the Bible. If you’re going to take one verse and use it as a way to spur controversy, or spread a personal agenda, you’re barking up the wrong tree. I would also encourage reading the entire bible passage when referencing scripture. Maybe take it a step further by reading the entire gospel, as the message is clearly all about grace- not perfection. Jesus was and still is the only perfect person to walk this earth. I know I’m not perfect, if I was His grace wouldn’t be needed; yet His Grace is the bread most needed in my life. I’m not afraid or ashamed to admit it.
What about this next verse however?
“But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” Matthew 6:3-4
Before one casts assumptive judgment on another, this verse references how we ought to give. I don’t need or care to share how or when I give. I don’t need to boast when I’m charitable or when I serve. I don’t give in an attempt to receive praise from human beings (Galatians 1:10 also comes to mind). I also find it peculiar that someone could get all the way to Matthew 19 without first reading Matthew 6 (verse above), if they’re truly studying The Bible.
Here’s another verse that comes to mind:
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5
Nobody is perfect. Why cast judgment and spur controversy, when the alternative is lifting up and encouraging one another? I’m sure we all have hang ups, sin, shame and believe we can be better than our past mistakes. I’m sure most of us want to grow and learn as we progress. Why then must we judge? Jesus is very clear on His view of judging one another in the verse above. Disagreeing is one thing, yet accusing with assumptive judgment based on someone’s love for God on Instagram doesn’t seem to align with this verse. I prefer to work on myself, while praying for His help as I navigate enhancing my relationship with Him. Imagine life if we all had inner focus over outer focus, from a growth perspective. What’s the saying? “When you point a finger at someone else you have 3 pointing a back at you.”
The man Jesus was speaking with in Matthew 19:21 was one who owned great possessions. Upon reading the entire passage one might notice that the man had followed the laws in an attempt to find eternal life. Jesus knew where the man’s heart was- with his earthly possessions. Jesus does go on to reference the great difficulty a rich person has in entering The Kingdom, which I find fascinating, as it aligns with my belief that we must shed the world to greater experience God in our lives. I’m not merely speaking of money either, I’m speaking of conditioned beliefs, conforming thought patterns, envy, judgment, slander, pain, hurts, hangups, short-term fulfilling habits, etc.. Must I go on? Don’t we all have things that hold us back to some extent from a deeper spiritual relationship with God? Doesn’t something of this world, usually learned or felt in our past, hold us back from being truly present with Him today? I feel like Jesus may have told an alcoholic to forgo the bottle and follow Him, if that’s where that person’s faith most resided.
Rich woman, poor woman. Angry man, happy man. Hurt woman, healed woman. Slanderous man, uplifting man. Worldly performer, God seeker. Works doer, Grace believer. Worldly, Godly. We all have something to change for the better, perhaps we pray about and focus on that first? Perhaps we seek The Word’s answers to our own faith hurdles over judging and criticizing others for our problems? Who knows.
Questioning God’s love as this commenter did? This verse comes to mind…
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
I realize we aren’t all dealt the same deck of cards. I understand that I have more blessings than others, while some have more blessings than me. I try my best to look through a lens of gratitude for what I do have, over looking through a lens of what what I lack compared to others. However, THE MAJOR BLESSING we all can share is actually God’s love, per the verse above. We can all choose the spiritual richness of true Joy via faith in Jesus Christ. Nothing is stopping us from choosing a relationship with Christ as our number one priority. Questioning God’s love portrays a lack of relationship with Jesus, given anyone who truly experiences His love knows with much greater clarity the richness and meaning of life. I wonder where the commenter who questioned God’s love based on comparing worldly status stands with their personal priority of putting God first life? I wonder if they’re so caught up in what they don’t have, that they fail to see The Truth. I’m curious, and sad for them, that’s all. I personally would feel more shame over having $1 that I put ahead of my relationship with God, verses having millions that I put behind it.
I’d like to end with this thought: the devil tempted Jesus three times in the wilderness. The account of these temptations is also written in Matthew:
Now the tempter came to Him, he said, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'” Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'” -Matthew 4:3-10
The Bible has been used time and time again to create further disparity and separation. I’ve had people in my life throw out bible verses in an attempt to prove a point or to progress a personal agenda. I see it on social media. I hear it on television. The ENTIRETY of The Good Book is important. Jesus knew every word of His God-Breathed Doctrine, and he was able to answer with Biblical Perfection, even when tempted by the devil quoting scripture. Taking the Bible out of context for human propaganda, for radicalism, to judge others, to create divide doesn’t portray the beautiful story of GRACE represented by the New Testament. Humanizing the most inhuman book ever created is the exact opposite of what we’re supposed to do. We are to learn from The Good Book. We are to pray for The Holy Spirit to help discern The Good Book. I personally believe The Good Book speaks to each of us in our own ways, yet I’m not so sure it aids in the human agendas noted above. Just my take.
May you all keep picking up The God-Breathed Word. May He speak to each of us through His Word and His Spirit. He is the giver of blessings. He is the giver of light. He is the giver of all good things. He only wants our hearts. I say we focus on individually working on making Him our number one priority before we attempt guiding others on how they’re falling short of doing the same. Please stop trolling. Please stop dividing. Give our hearts to Jesus and let Him work within each of us. The world would be a better place.
Much love. God Bless. SURRENDER.