I am a born-and-raised Canadian citizen, and I am very proud to live where I do. In fact you couldn’t pay me to live anywhere else. Our country may not be perfect (what is?) – but I think it’s about as close as it comes.
Because I am a Canadian, you wouldn’t think that I am following the US election very closely, but I am. All Canadians are, because the upcoming election in November will have an effect on our country as well. Our economy is strongly tied to the American economy, and sadly when it comes to war, where America goes, we tend to follow, just like Bo-Beep’s sheep.
We sit and watch the news with baited breath, just like our neighboring Americans, wondering what is in store for our combined future. In fact, I would wager that many Canadians are paying more attention to this upcoming election, than we did to our own election last fall.
One thing I have learned over the last couple years of campaigning between the two countries, is nothing seems to bring out the worst in people, any faster than politics. Trash talking (for there is no other word for it) spreads faster than wildfire in the media – and that includes social media like Facebook. Half truths, outright lies, hearsay and slander are all shared as though they were fact and/or written Gospel.
People spread the memes and videos and slurs, justifying their actions by saying, “I’m just doing my civic duty to warn others against this person’s deception/bigotry/facism (insert accusation of choice)”. But when did our civic duty become spreading rumors, and tearing people down based on half-truths? And even if it is the truth, when did our civic duty become to gossip about others? What’s more – what about our Christian duty, which is supposed to come above all others?
What is the number one command we are given repeatedly in the Bible? To love each other. [John 13:34-35; John 15:12]. We are also told that all that we do, should be done in love [1 Corinthian 16:14]. I think we can agree that when we spread gossip, rumors and lies, we are not acting in love. In fact, the Bible goes on to say that anyone who does not love each other, anyone who hates their brother (and let’s face it – you are promoting hate when you spread these items on Facebook) is committing murder. [1 John 3:15-16]. Murder as we all know, is a mortal sin. Hatred, is also a sin.
What are we warned repeatedly against engaging in? Spreading lies, slander, gossip and ultimately, speaking evil. We are told in 1 Peter 2:1, to “Put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” We are told, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” [Ephesians 4:29]. In James 4:11 we are told, “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.”
There are so many more verses I could share, but I think this one speaks stronger than any other: in Proverbs, we are told that the Lord hates, hates, a false witness who breathes out lies and spreads discord among brothers. [Proverbs 6:16-19]. We can follow that verse up with this one from Psalms: “Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.” [Psalm 101:5].
I think it’s safe to say that our Lord would not approve of any Christian spreading the gossip and slander that is floating around social media today, therefore, there is absolutely NO justification or excuse for any Christian, to be spreading these memes and other slanderous videos, comments etc… on Facebook (or in person). There is absolutely NO justification for any Christian to be gossiping about anyone else. For not only are they sinning, but they are acting in hypocrisy, and they become a poor reflection on Christians collectively. Let us remember:
“Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others. Why, then, do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? How dare you say to your brother, ‘Please, let me take that speck out of your eye,’ when you have a log in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” [Matthew 7:1-5]
And while this isn’t from the Bible, I have always loved this quote, “The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world, simply finds unbelievable.” The Christian who spreads these memes claiming to be doing so in an effort to try and protect our Christianity from a corrupt person, is only becoming one themselves.
So, as a Christian, how should we be handling the upcoming election? With prayer. First and foremost, we should be praying for our candidates, instead of tearing them down. The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 2:1-3, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” We should all be praying daily for not only the candidates, but all of the world’s leaders.
Secondly, abstain completely from gossip and slander, whether orally or on social media. Do not share memes, quotes, videos and any other item whose purpose is for tearing down a candidate, or discussing them in a negative way. When you see a fellow Christian who has chosen to sin by spreading slander, pray for them – that God will forgive their actions, but also that He will reveal their sin to them and humble their heart.
Prayer is more powerful than any meme.