From the Outside…

Things are not always as they seem. Social media is not always what it seems. What we share as still moments do not always convey what the conditions or the situations before and after are. We see a moment, and either good or bad, we react – and those little emoji’s make it so easy.

The picture I shared was taken on a mountain top. The picture does not include what happened immediately before, and obviously, shortly after. The pic, however, looks good. It looks successful. It looks fun. Inviting. Yet, I can assure you, it, for the most part, was anything but good, successful, fun, or inviting; not because of the environment, but personal sorrow – no need for sympathy, I include this to make my point.

The picture does not capture the sadness before, or the sadness after. It’s just a still photo of a person somewhere in the mountains.

That’s one of the issues with social media. It’s easy to present one picture, usually the best one available, laying aside the unpleasant reality. And it’s easy to view one picture, not realizing the unpleasant life reality not captured.

My point is not to bash social media or we who share, but for us as social media consumers to pause, and remember something important.

When the king of Moab, Balak, sees the children of Israel in the wilderness from above and afar, he sees a beautiful, well-ordered camp moving. It is a terrifying vision for him (Num. 22). He hires Balaam to curse them, to destroy them by the power of his words. He cannot. He is only able to bless them, “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel! (Num. 24:5).

Balak saw what he wanted to see. From a distance Israel looked perfect. Orderly. The presence of God manifest in the center of the camp. They were, in his mind, a conquering army set to topple him.

What Balak couldn’t see were the issues, the reality on the ground, in the midst of the camp that Moses had to lead through: the rebellions; the family squabbles; the complaints; the life issues that underlay apparent perfection. God was in their midst and working, but as humans we certainly have our issues.

It’s easy to judge our life, our experience, and therefore, our value by the perfect picture shared, the most liked post, or the exciting destinations traveled to by others; but what we do not often see is the reality.

In some cases, it’s the appearance of what people want us to see in order to show apparent perfection or beauty to build their brand. Yet, for others, they share, even without saying it, their victory in order to inspire. In that captured moment they are able to leave behind the often crippling life issues in order to share a moment of joy, not to influence for brand value, but to inspire others to take the next step, whatever it may be for them.

Israel was living; a nation of freed slaves learning to be a family and a people. Balak was assuming, and in that assumption he feared; and while Balaam was unable to curse from above, he shared with Balak how to destroy them from within … “send in your prettiest people, with good food, and tempt them to worship with you” (Num. 25:1-3). They infiltrated the camp.

Social media is what we make of it, the good and the bad. Yes there are many who use social media for their own gain; but before we lash out, criticize, mock, or become afraid that someone else is living the good life, remember that it may have taken them great courage and faith to get up, go out, and then share a moment of personal victory of overcoming in the midst of many, many setbacks.

As I wrote in a recent post: Refrain from forming and sharing an opinion of others, or dare I say, a judgment of them, until you know exactly what they are enduring (Matt. 7:1-2, 12).

Social media has trained us to view people with a particular lens, one of our choosing. I pray that we learn to see people with the eyes and heart of Christ, and from there share in their victories and trials, while not contributing to them.

Be well. Shalom.

The Politics of Politics

I am not apolitical. I try to be. It’s complicated. I do not fall into the traditional definition of either of the two major political parties here in the United States. Unfortunately, I have not yet transcended the political fray either; detached from the engagement and tension that inevitably accompanies political discussion. While I try to focus on the Gospel, I find myself unable to ignore the politics of the Gospel. No, not that of parties and election cycles, but people. The people who make up the polis. Yet, in an ironic twist, to not be political, is to also be political – just for the wrong reasons.   

The Mission. 

The church not only has a spiritual mission, but a social mission as well; which by nature is a political mission. Not of politics as we might appreciate it, but seeking the benefit and well-being of those around us. Politics, from the Greek Πολιτικά (politiká), meaning “affairs of the cities,” is the living dynamic of people in community. The community encompasses everyone: from poor to rich; female to male; old to young; stranger to citizen. The mission of the church is to the human other: for salvation, and for well-being. 

Political Involvement. 

God’s people have been involved with the politics of nations from the dawn of biblical history. Abraham as a “prince among us” bringing ethical monotheism to Canaan. Joseph as the viceroy of Egypt. Daniel as an advisor in Babylon. This involvement is one avenue for loving your neighbor as yourself. From positions of prominence, faithful work can be done for the benefit of the community, and the individual. However, these positions are not available to all of us. 

Still, we mustn’t allow the political framework – a party system – to be our definer. People very passionately believe in and support political figures or party platforms, at times concluding that heavens endorsement falls along party lines. This is regrettably shortsighted. Those of biblical faith should raise their voices on social, cultural, and economic issues; informed, not by party, but from the Word of God. As disciples of Messiah we find biblical imperatives to advocate for the poor, and supply their need; to defend the rights of the oppressed; to defend and preserve life; and fight racism (as an immediate example), which is a sin, as it violates the command of Messiah to love our neighbor as ourselves. We must be cautious not to confuse biblical imperatives, with political motives. 

To commit to supporting and defending the poor, the widow, the stranger, the orphan, the oppressed, the unborn, the environment, and life is not an option for those of biblical faith. Still, how this is accomplished is the root of much dispute. 

More or Less?

Should government be slimmed down in order to allow the private sector to address the needs of those listed above? An unlikely solution. Should government be given more power to redistribute the wealth of its citizens? An unlikely solution. The Bible does not give an answer for these questions originating with government. The Lord expects the individual, in faith-obedience, to work in concert with other individuals to fulfill his command to be charitable and open-handed with their brother (Deut. 15:11). One avenue of this is known as tithing. The tithe, given over six years in two three year patterns, with a seventh year rest, provided for the individual giving, the poor, the widow, the orphan, the Temple, and the Levite. The Lord also expects the individual acting in concert with other individuals, in faith-obedience, to secure justice in community (Deut. 16:20). 

As you might imagine, the living reality of such action would cross the modern party lines several times. 

Package Deal. 

All too often political parties expect party members to accept the package deal – package-deal politics. Nevertheless, with the biblical imperative to advocate for the poor, and fight racial injustice, as examples, one might believe I am advocating for one political party. Moreover, with the biblical perspective that sexual intimacy is for the married male and female couple, one might believe I am advocating for another political party. The issue is, the biblical norms on social, cultural, religious, and economic issues do not align perfectly with any contemporary political party. Package-deal politics is simply untenable from a biblical perspective. 

What To Do? 

Be apolitical? Assimilate assigned party positions? Neither is workable, or biblical. When we consider the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25-37), Messiah reveals a hero who crossed the racial, social, and religious divide, a Samaritan, who was an enemy of the Jewish people. The Samaritan invested his means into the life of the injured man. He did what others were unwilling to do. As Messiah teaches, to advocate, support, and invest in life is to be involved in the political process – “affairs of the cities” – otherwise, we avoid the downtrodden.  

Still more, it is to be involved in a way that crosses lines of allegiance established by man. It is to risk scorn, mockery, isolation, and persecution. Nonetheless, Yeshua/Jesus gives comfort, “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great! For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12). To be faithful, especially when facing criticism from every direction is to be a city shining on a hill, which in the end will be a place where people glorify God (Matt. 5:14-16). 


Inevitably, failing to align with expected party positions and personages will lead to rejection. This is part and parcel of the politics of politics. It is part and parcel of following the Messiah. The Gospel gives resources of comfort and assurance for those moments. 


What drives my conviction is my rescue, my salvation. How did he rescue me? He did so by coming to earth stripped of glory and power, position and prestige. He did so counterintuitively by dying the death of a criminal on a cross. He did so, not by the power of the state or political affiliation. He did so by nailed hands and feet. He did so by overcoming the king of terrors, death and the grave. He did so, because he is the King of kings, and Lord of lords. 

Faith-obedience is not immediate victory or comfort. It is loving the God of our salvation with all our heart, soul and strength (Deut. 6:5), and loving the human other as ourselves (Lev. 19:18, 34). This is involvement in the “affairs of the cities,” the living people in need of hope, and salvation. 

While I am not political, I am, I find, very political, as I am concerned with the “affairs of the cities,” more precisely, its people. 

To Conclude. 

There is, in this age, few, if any, places of safe harbor for the believer; where one will not risk offending others due to biblical convictions. This is as it should be. This world is not our home (Heb. 13:14). We are looking for a city yet to come, where the Lord will wipe away every tear. Where death and mourning will be no more. Until then, we wipe the tears, bandage the wounds, and give hope in the name of Yeshua.     

Be well; shalom.       

Social Media Attitudes and Faith


“Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jewish or Greek people or to God’s community – just as I also try to please everyone in everything, not seeking my own benefit but the benefit of many, so that they may be saved” (I Cor. 10:31-33).


Recently I made a personal choice to wean myself from my primary social media platform for the summer. It was becoming increasingly difficult to not be adversely affected by the posts and comments in my newsfeed. Honestly, it was too much stimulation for my natural condition as a contrarian, non-conformist, sharp tongued reprobate. I was continually reminding myself, “that comment will not glorify your Savior.”

Disciples of Messiah.

The apostle Paul reminds disciples of Messiah that in all we do, whatever it may be, it must be done “to the glory of God.” That includes social media posts, comments, shared videos, and livestreams. In Matthew 12:36, Yeshua says, “But I tell you that on the Day of Judgment, men will give account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Directly, Yeshua is speaking to the unrepentant, who have not been cleansed in heart by faith (Matt. 12:33-35); but what of those who have been changed, cleansed, and redeemed? Are we now able to bring forth evil from a good treasury? Lord, help us.

Idle words.

Even the redeemed will give an account for words spoken, but not to condemnation (Ro. 8:1), a point that should give us great pause. What of keystrokes? They are still words, and they do come from an internal storehouse – one that should reflect the risen Savior.


Granted. There are reasons to be concerned, upset, angry, frustrated, and fearful. We cannot escape the current climate of social, political, racial, and health unrest. Yet, not everything that we type, or record, is constructive, or even helpful. We all have our opinions, and opinions can stimulate healthy dialog, but when our opinions override the message of the Gospel, people of messianic faith are in trouble.


Our opinions are based on our presuppositions. We interpret, usually, by the lens of those presuppositions, and that affects not only our eyes, but our ears as well. We have our political, social, cultural and religious opinions; but as people of messianic faith, our worldview needs to be aligned with the Word of God, and the Lord’s ethical norms. How do we respond to people with differing opinions? In the Gospels we find Yeshua flipping tables from time to time, or saying “woe unto,” and even “hypocrites!” Still, we find that this was not His usual demeanor. It wasn’t wrong, as Paul tells us, “Be angry, yet do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger, nor give the devil a foothold” (Eph. 4:26-27). We can be angry, apart from sin – this is a biblical permission. Yeshua was angry apart from sin. He was angry at the sin. Still, even with His anger at the actions of those receiving His rebuke, He did not allow that moment to affect His opinion of their humanity. Increasingly, we seem to be unable to disconnect actions, opinions, and differences from our opinion of the human other. The devil then has a foothold in our life.

Faith correction.

Paul writes, which is especially meaningful in light of the contentious communications of today, “Let no harmful word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for building others up according to the need, so that it gives grace to those who hear it. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness and rage and anger and quarreling and slander, along with all malice. Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other just as God in Messiah also forgave you” (Eph. 4:29-32).

Let no harmful word come from your mouth, or your keyboard. We can share our opinion in a non-combative way, desiring to inform, or learn, rather than insult. Everyone’s need in the moment is different. So how can the answer to that immediate need bring them to the answer of every need, Messiah? Get rid of rage, bitterness, anger, quarreling and slander – get rid of, as these qualities are not renewed. Be kind. Compassionate. Forgive. Try to understand. Walk in the forgiveness gracefully supplied to you.

We are so easily ensnared by the schemes of the enemy, and all too often our mental disposition and inclination is to find those traps – and if I am honest, it is true for me as well. We need the mind of Messiah. We need His patience. We need His eternal worldview.

What do we do?

  1. Pause, and pray.
  2. Think before we speak or type.
  3. Consider the sources of information we are consuming, and by consuming, growing – into what?
  4. Not everything needs to be commented on or shared.
  5. Consider, not just someone else’s point of view, but why they have that point of view.
  6. Is what we speak or type for the glory of God?
  7. Will our response help draw people to Messiah?
  8. Will our speech or keystrokes cause dissension among the redeemed?
  9. Pause, and pray, yet again.

But we must say something!

It depends. As a faith teacher I have learned from years of experience that people do not like to be talked down to – they do not like to be made to feel ignorant. It takes time to develop the skills necessary to honor the position and experience of those you are attempting to reach, and not do so in a presumptuous or pompous way. This is a skill that is so desperately needed in the social media universe.

Yes, at times we must speak; but we must also remember that heaven is listening. We must keep in mind that “this call is being monitored for quality assurance.”

Would people know that you are a disciple of Yeshua if they only had access to your tweets, posts and comments? This causes me endless reflection.

It’s all too easy.

I am a recovering (as noted above): contrarian, non-conformist, sharp tongued reprobate. While I know that I am eternally recovered, it is the day to day living that is still in recovery – also called daily sanctification. I have a sharp tongue, and I know how to use it. That is the easy response. The easy way. The way that many people travel. I thank the Lord that I am on the narrow way, which means that my natural inclination is being squeezed out of me. I pray that He squeezes you as well.

What I am preposing is not a way of weakness, but of Messiah. Let our attitude be Messiah. Let our faith be Messiah. Let our life be a reflection of Messiah. We all need this grace. Finally, let us put on Messiah, and by His Spirit have wisdom for every circumstance.

Let all be done, for the glory of God.

Be well. Shalom.

*For the record, I own guns, knives, and will defend myself and others from aggression. This is not contrary to discipleship in Messiah. Messiah’s answer of turn the other cheek is social insult, not an answer to aggression, danger, or immediate threat. Still, this is not to be our normal operating procedure, or disposition.