Pastor Cap: Will you choose love or hate on Blackwell's Facebook battlefield?

by Cap McIlnay

Facebook, like any other tool, can be a blessing or a curse. I am sure that most of my readers will agree that Facebook has too often been used to cause pain, start conflict, and rob peace from others.

Again and again, we have witnessed members of our community getting on Facebook to tear down, complain, gripe, and condemn this community. But this does more damage to our community than good.

So, what are we Christians called to do? We are called to bring peace.

We read in Galatians 5:22 that peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Peter 3:11, we are told to seek peace. And in Psalm 29:11, we find out that peace is, in fact, a blessing from our Heavenly Father.

Some of you might be thinking, “That sounds great, Pastor Cap. All that 'warm and fuzzy stuff' always sounds great until someone has hurt you. Then, all that 'warm and fuzzy stuff' is the first to leave the room.”

I never said seeking peace in an evil world would be easy, and neither did Jesus. But it is what we are called to do.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:41, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” Jesus is speaking of the Roman legal practice of Roman soldiers forcing civilians to help carry their equipment one mile. Jesus is saying this: Instead of complaining about it, double it. The first mile, you have met the legal obligation. The second mile is a blessing from you to them.

Of course, this is in the beatitude chapter, and this verse is a leading verse where Jesus tells us that we are to love our enemies – and to pray for them. He didn’t say it was going to be easy, but he did tell us to do it.

In 1 Peter 3:9, we read that we are not to repay evil with evil. But it is so difficult not to repay evil with evil. It is difficult not to get on Facebook and trash someone or some company. There are legitimate ways to communicate a displeasure or a disagreement – but not out of anger, and not in public. We should always remember that we are to criticize in private and praise in public.

If you don’t want to do this because Christ calls us to, then think of it this way: Any company that is thinking of starting a business here will most likely have someone check out our social media. Companies have been doing this for years. If all they see are negative comments, that becomes their only perspective of our community.

Do we have issues? Absolutely. All towns do, and some of our issues are real problems that certainly need to be brought up. But let us do so with hearts of patience, love, and peace.

For all people who call themselves Christians, I want to remind you that we are called Christians after the word Christ. Who is this Christ? “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government  will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,  Mighty God, Everlasting  Father,  Prince of Peace,” we read in Isaiah 9:6.
Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ that we follow. He is the Prince of Peace!

Resist the urge to answer evil with evil; instead, answer with prayer, love, and peace. You might not win the argument, and you might lose the battle of agendas. But you will have won the war, and your victory will be a crown in heaven, not on earth.

I want to challenge not only the Christians in Blackwell, but all people in Blackwell. Here is the challenge: Let us figure out how to use Facebook to enhance, encourage, and raise up our community instead of tearing it down.

Let us hold each other accountable with both love and respect as we do this. We do not want to become the police of Facebook for Blackwell, but let us be brothers and sisters of Blackwell. If we find one of our brothers or sisters trashing a business or an individual on Facebook, let us answer with peace. And by all means, let us not pick up someone else’s offense. We have enough offense in our own lives that we do not need to pick up others' offenses as well.

We are all in this community together. We get to choose how we are going to live with each other. We can pick each other apart or we can live in peace with each other. As for as me and my family, we choose love over hate, we choose light over darkness, and we choose peace over conflict.

Which will you choose?