This first post on loving Muslims is a ripper (Australian slang for very good)
Enjoy this week’s Church Leader Insights.
In addition to being a church planter and pastor, I’m also an editor and an online community facilitator for a global ministry to pastors and church leaders. So I often have to deal with hateful comments on the Facebook pages I help to manage.
It’s sad, really. The comments don’t come from Muslims or atheists. They come from Christians who consider themselves to be a little superior to others in their commitment to biblical Christianity. They are the watchdogs and witch-hunters who spread rumors that have been refuted boldly and frankly by the accused. Ironically, they often claim that God has given them a ministry of “discernment.”
BBC reports that in July, over 7,000 anti-Muslim tweets were posted every day. When commenters get hateful, I ban them, without regret. It’s better for both of us, really, that they never be bothered with seeing our content. Today, I dealt with this little gem of a comment, directed at someone I deeply respect:
I suppose they deserve a few points for the creative use of emoji’s? First of all, to accuse someone of being a “Muslim lover” actually reflects well on the accused’s representation of Jesus and his message.
But that aside, it took me back to moments in my youth when, surrounded by prejudice, I would often hear similar phrases thrown at those who associated too closely (especially romantically) with people of another ethnicity. It’s horrible. It reflects fear and hatred and demonstrates the ugliness of the sinful human heart.
I always laugh when I see these types of posts on social media: “I normally don’t speak up about this sort of thing, but I felt compelled to say…”
They fell into the trap. They fell into the trap of thinking they needed to say something on social media about the latest scandal, tragedy, soap box… whatever.
Not gonna lie, I’m tempted by this trap often. But I’ve found silence really is golden. Here’s why.
1. Information travels faster than truth.
People love a fascinating fact. They love it so much that they’ll share it with others before checking its veracity. Consequently, one lie gets spread faster than truth can correct.
Want proof of this? Just fact check the last five posts from these Twitter accounts: @UnrevealedTips, @WhatTheFFacts, and @neverknownfacts
Those Twitter accounts profess themselves to be factual, but they’re filled with errors. Same goes for many articles, news stories, etc. Truth takes a lot longer to discover than our ability to write a tweet, blog, or Facebook post.
2. Wise people stay silent.
Solomon wrote in Proverbs 17:28 that even a foolish person is thought to be wise if they keep silent. Want to look wise? Do what wise people do and choose to think rather than speak.
“The Church is the most powerful transforming force in history.” This bold assertion from the bookWhat’s Right with the Church by Elmer L. Towns flies in the face of what the media portray.
What does this look like today? Many church members believe that the number of Christians in the world is declining and that Satan’s kingdom of darkness is winning. Is it a matter of perspective?
Care for society
Author Malcolm Gladwell writes: “Ram Cnaan, a professor of social work at the University of Pennsylvania, recently estimated the replacement value of the charitable work done by the average American church—that is, the amount of money it would take to equal the time, money, and resources donated to the community by a typical congregation—and found that it came to about a hundred and forty thousand dollars a year.
In the city of Philadelphia, for example, that works out to an annual total of 250 million dollars’ worth of community ‘good’; on a national scale, the contribution of religious groups to the public welfare is, as Cnaan puts it, ‘staggering.’ In the past twenty years, as the enthusiasm for public-supported welfare has waned, churches have quietly and steadily stepped into to fill the gaps.” (newyorker.com 9/12/05)
In June 2016 the Pew Research Center disclosed that 65 percent of highly religious individuals said they had donated time, money or goods to the poor in the prior week. In contrast only 41 percent of those who defined themselves as less religious contributed time, money or goods to the needy.
Health care services
A report in USA Today (7/30/12) maintained that “a 2007 survey of more than 6000 American congregations conducted by the National Council of Churches USA and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, revealed that 60 percent of churches provide health care services to their communities.”
you have a leadership position that carries the responsibility to hire and fire people, you know the weight that carries.
Both hiring and firing can keep you awake at night. It has for me many times.
It does get better with more experience, and the more you learn. But it does require intentional effort to improve. You won’t get better just because you put in more years.
There is so much to cover on the subject, but for this post, I have just one major thought for you. Here it is:
We tend to look for the good when hiring, and we look for the bad when firing.
We all tend to see what we are looking for, not necessarily what is true.
The Law of Perspective
This is influenced by the law of perspective. Let me give you a picture of this. My wife thinks I’m handsome. OK, for obvious reasons that perspective is held pretty much by Patti only. Love blindness is awesome! She has formed that perspective because she loves me and she has chosen to see me as her knight in shining armor. Picture King Arthur in Camelot. See, the law of perspective didn’t work for you did it?!
We intuitively think laws are black and white, but like in any courtroom jury trial, the law is up for interpretation. The interpretation can win the case or get you in a ton of trouble. It’s the same with hiring and firing.
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