Last week, a complete stranger wrote this comment on a prayer message I’d posted across social media platforms.
“Mr Summerfield you sure talk a good game. But my complaint with Tik Tok Christians is just that all they do is talk. What about videos of you helping the lonely, the hungry, the elderly?”
I’ve never been called a TikTok Christian before, but it was clear it wasn’t a compliment.
I have to confess my instinctive reaction wasn’t very godly, but I managed to slow down and consider how to respond, not react.
I wouldn’t normally reply to such messages. Particularly from strangers. There’s rarely anything helpful or healthy about such dialogues, and I didn’t want to come across as defensive.
My new ‘friend’ clearly felt he had me pegged as all talk and no walk. On one level, we should all consider that challenge. Actions speak louder than words (1 John 3:16-19) and if we’re followers of Jesus we should indeed be committed to kindness towards the lonely, the hungry and the elderly (and many others) – although the answer isn’t to post our ‘good words’ on social media. The glory is to God, not ourselves.
As I battled my own reactions to his comment, I was reminded of Jesus’ words about not judging people (Matt 7:1-5). Remember, everyone has a story. Life experiences. Ups and downs. Wounds and scars. Present crisis. Life battles. This guy most likely had some bad experiences of Christian hypocrisy and so it’s all of our responsibility to be a better example and see that narrative change
So here’s a little of what I wrote back…
“…Try not to judge the whole of my life by a 1-minute video, and I’ll give you the same courtesy of not judging you by your 3 sentences. I hope we’ll all be committed to be good news to all who need support, comfort, and help.”
Was that a helpful reply?
Should I have stayed silent?
But I want to encourage myself, and others, not to judge the whole of anyone’s life by a particular moment or experience.
I hope the Holy Spirit will continue to be at work in me, and you, to think the best, forgive the worst and love the most – because that’s how Jesus is with us!