There is an easy way to start a fight on social media. Tell someone that something in their life is wrong or sinful. You will be called a “hater.” You will be accused of <sin> shaming and attacked for not being tolerant. You will be reported to the administrators of that social media and probably suffer some kind of punishment for your outrageous behavior. Probably the worst sin, according to the commandments of the internet, is to accuse someone else of sin.
The apostles had that problem as they preached the good news of Jesus Christ. They were dragged in front of the Jewish court and accused of “cross shaming” the religious leaders. Those apostles refused the order of the court to stop preaching about Jesus and made the religious leaders look bad. Imagine how hurtful that preaching must have been for the leaders. They were accused of arranging for Jesus to be crucified and not only did the apostles say that they were wrong, they said that God proved that they were wrong by raising Jesus from the dead.
The apostles doubled down on their accusation in their defense. “We’re going to obey God instead of you. Yes, you put Jesus to death on the cross.” They obviously hadn’t learned how to win friends and influence people. They weren’t even seeker sensitive. Then they dropped the “love bomb.” “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.” (Acts 5:31) The purpose for pointing out the sins of the leaders, AND all the people was so that people might recognize their sins, repent, and receive forgiveness. God’s purpose was always love and reconciliation – not condemnation.
We face some of the same difficulties the apostles did. We live in a culture where we are called to accept anyone’s actions as “ok” even when it goes against God’s standards. When we point out sin in our world today we need to make sure that we do so in a loving manner. Even so, we still have too many people who think they’ve done nothing wrong, and thus have no need for repentance. We will be called before the administrators in social media, or perhaps just punished for seeking to love people enough to help them understand the depth of God’s love and how much He sacrificed to bring people to repentance and forgiveness. We will be called “haters” by those we seek to draw back into God’s love. That being said, we must continue to speak God’s truth in love to a world that would rather be comfortable in their sin.
Lord, it’s so easy to sit back and not endure the insults or the attacks when we proclaim the truth of Your love. Jesus went to the cross to pay the penalty for sin for sinners such as I. Help us to show others the depth of Your sacrifice and love as we lead others to repentance and forgiveness.