The video of a doctor dragged bloodily from a United Airlines flight last Sunday by airport security personnel will long provoke anger, long after the episode is investigated and resolved. The video went viral, and United’s stock has taken a multi-million dollar drop in value.
One writer noted that it wasn’t United personnel responsible for the scene, but an airport security person. Regardless, it happened on a United flight and the company will bear the brunt of the criticism.
The video serves as a reminder that our world is more aggressive, violent, and confrontational than ever before.
A Fox News opinion piece, however, surfaced a point that is especially pertinent to God’s people.
The deeper problem here is also that social media mobs rush to judgment and quickly express anger. A comprehensive study from Beihang University in Beijing found that anger is the emotion that spread the most easily on social media.
Reasons for this include the fact that we are more willing to share anger with strangers, whereas happiness is more likely shared with close friends.
Note that last line. Happiness is more likely shared with close friends. That is what people do, naturally. We don’t usually run up to strangers to share something positive that has happened to us. We tell family and friends. A few of them.
Spiritually, God’s saints must resist the natural tendency to restrict happiness among a few close friends. We have been given a mission to blanket the world with the saving message of Jesus Christ. We must not restrict the gospel to a small set of known individuals. It is our job to speak to every single person we meet, and for us to find ways to meet new people to speak to about the gospel.
That last line bears repeating: It is our job to speak to every single person we meet, and for us to find ways to meet new people to speak to about the gospel.
If we don’t do our job, God will not be happy with us and we will be disappointed on the day of judgment. This job does not belong to professionals. In the church of Christ we are all “professionals.” Remember that we aren’t supposed to have clergy and laity in the church? That means nobody else can do my job. And my job is well defined in Scripture.
The Christian shares the good news with strangers.
¶ Things never pan out exactly as we expect, be they relationships, business ventures, or travel plans. Sometimes they turn out better. If they sour, however, we ought to keep our commitments. One of the sorriest and lamest phrases ever spoken is, “But God wants me to be happy.”
¶ We are often quick to change and make a move. Times are a move is needed, but often patience proves the better path. The problem we make a move over is often within ourselves, and we carry it with us wherever we go.
¶ What does Easter/Passover mean to the Christian who lives by the New Testament? Nothing! That was my point last Monday night in Taubaté, when I was invited to cover for a brother who was traveling, but didn’t want his home group to be cancelled.
Yes, Passover is important background in the history of God’s redemptive plan. It provides the context for Jesus’ establishment of the Lord’s supper. But Christians today have no basis in Scripture for an annual celebration of Easter. Saints observe no annual calendar, but a weekly one, eating the Lord’s supper every Sunday with the family of God.
¶ By coincidence, tonight we are reading Psalm 136, the Great Hallel which, they tell us, the Jews read at Passover. It could also be called the Great Repetition. Some things are so good, they bear repeating.
¶ For our Portuguese-language meditation earlier today I wrote, “In order for the divine possibility to become reality, the human concept must be discarded.” It was a comment on the context of Mark 10.27: “Jesus looked at them and replied, ‘This is impossible for mere humans, but not for God; all things are possible for God.’” Maybe I can get the whole devotional translated before long.
¶ Pleased to see the owners of a specialty burger restaurant near my office rolling up their sleeves. The economic crisis here caused them to lay off many of their employees. While they were opening only at night, this month they began offering lunch as well, in an effort to increase their income. (I ate lunch there today.) Both the husband and wife are waiting on and clearing tables, as well as managing their business. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, according to the old saying. Fine example for people of faith.
¶ Finally, an inspired verse. “[God] tossed Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea, for his loyal love endures” Psalm 136.15. Know where he got that? The verb tossed is literally, “shook off.” He picked it up from Exodus 14.27. The guy knew his Bible. To be able to affirm the faithful and loyal love of God, we need to know our Bible as well.
From words of Scripture we won’t rush to judgment in anger. We’ll find the happiness that breaks out of our small circle of friends.