On several occasions, Facebook has allowed me to find someone to shuttle supplies from the United States to Uganda for the ministry I direct. Instagram has served as a launching pad for dozens of us to serve children in need, and Twitter has provided a glimpse into the uplifting work friends are doing around the world.
While each social media platform can produce positive outcomes, other content found on them can trigger negative emotions. As divisive comments enter our social media feeds, we can be lured into debates that lead to strife.
Instead of compelling us to treat others respectfully, as 1 Peter 2:1 exhorts, strife often provokes us to make disparaging and regretful comments. But “Christians are called to be merciful, as the Lord has been merciful to us,” writes my friend Sean Martin. “Digital communication can discourage that emotion, though. It’s as if the digital screen blocks our view of the Imago Dei [image of God] in each individual. We are called to affirm the dignity of each person, even those on the other side of the aisle. We are called to honor everyone (1 Peter 2:17). We promote righteousness, but only as sinners whose only hope is Christ’s perfect righteousness imputed to them.”
We follow a sinless Savior who’s never mistreated anyone. “He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered.” Instead, “He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly” (1 Peter 2:23).
As we draw close to Jesus, who “personally carried our sins in his body on the cross,” He will help us overcome the temptation to lose sight of people’s dignity and also help us “live for what is right” (1 Peter 2:24). He provides the words and tones that will honor Him and bear fruit for eternity.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 22:1-13
Read Matthew 5:43-48 and consider Jesus’ radical instructions to love and seek the best for even your enemies.
Why is it easier to be disrespectful of other people when you’re not in their presence? How does respect for others reflect our respect and honor of God?