Religion

Faith Matters: Digital life for Christians in the modern age can be tricky

“The strategy of the Kingdom is love.”

Facebook and other social media platforms are wonderful tools I love to use to share the Gospel, “the good news,” of the Kingdom of heaven. Others use it for sharing events with friends and family, even what they are eating at the moment, along with other positive and amusing utilizations.

Of course, there are those annoying, negative and sometimes offensive posts that appear on our news feed on our various devices.

Today, I would like to share with you what I am confident is a use of social media that is offensive to the heavenly father, grieves the Holy Spirit and is the opposite of the nature of Jesus.

That is, exposing the sins and faults of another brother or sister in the beautiful body of Christ, his church.

Before I move on, let me state that I am writing this to believers. I believe in grace and do not consider grace a license or loophole to sin. Rather, grace is to empower us for righteous living.

“So that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. - Romans 5:21

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” - Romans 6:1–4

Don Sturiano.jpg
Don Sturiano is the senior leader at Kingdom Life Christian Church in Bradenton.

I believe in the “Biblical” mandate of addressing sin in the lives of Christians. See Matthew 18:15–17.

However, I do not think you will find a principle in scripture for a believer exposing the sin of another believer publicly to the world. That said, for crimes such as harm against children, harming others and breaking the law, we are all responsible for taking that to the proper authorities. See Romans 13:1–5, but that is not what I am addressing here today.

I am speaking to using our keyboards as stones, casting gossip, theological arguments and various fault findings against those in the family of God, including leaders. The father’s anointed, both known and unknown who are faithfully serving the cause of Christ.

I am referring to publicizing a soundbite from a message, book or article out of context, then broadcasting it in a negative light online.

In John 8:1-11 you will find the well-known story of the woman who was caught in adultery. As I am writing this article to believers, I am presuming you are familiar with the various nuances and details from this passage.

We know that the religious leaders are using this situation to trap Jesus to go against the Law of Moses. What you may not know is that to condemn her to death, it is required by the law to produce two who have witnessed the act. These religious leaders don’t care about the law nor her sin. She was their patsy, set up as a snare to trap the loving and merciful Christ.

To make this happen, all of them are guilty of the sin of hypocrisy, deceit and at least two of them are guilty of adultery of the heart and lust of the eyes as peeping-toms perhaps gazing through a window.

Let’s not forget the one who volunteered for their undercover mission; remember, she was “caught” in the act. You see, the extreme of a religious spirit is so powerfully evil, that it will cause a believer of the law, to break the law, so to expose the sin of the guilty and even the innocent for the sake of their dark agenda.

Proverbs 6:16–19 (NKJV) These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

Back to the story ...

John 8:3–5 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”

Hesitating, not giving a response nor entering a theological debate, Jesus used wisdom and the gift of a word of knowledge to dictate His next move.

John 8:6–9 (NKJV) This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

Notice, what He is writing is for the eyes of only those who were there. Thousands of years later we can only guess what He wrote. Some believe it was their sins, others believe it was the names of those who had also been with that woman.

We don’t know, it was not “recorded.” His point of not letting us know was not to keep us guessing or to have a Biblical debate. Rather it is for a much greater purpose, to demonstrate His nature; mercy, grace, restoration and love.

Jesus did not condemn the woman for her transgression, nor did He record the greater offense of those who set this up in the first place. The details of their dark truth will never be known, so the greater truth would remain. His love for the woman, was the same for the ones holding a stone.

Galatians 6:1–2 (NKJV) Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Philippians 4:8–9 (The Message) Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” — Mother Teresa

Don Sturiano is the Senior Leader of Kingdom Life Christian Church, located at 3700 26th St W. in Bradenton. They meet every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m. Visit kingdomlifechristianchurch.org to learn more.

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