In the Bible, relationships are essential.
In fact, when asked what is the most important thing in life, Jesus talked about relationships: Loving God and loving others. (Mark 12:28-31)
Since relationships are so important, we ought to do everything we can to make sure we are connected with God and others the way the Lord intends.
As a pastor, one of the areas in which I do the most counseling is in regard to relational problems: marriage, kids, extended family, co-workers, neighbors and even other church members. There is not a week that goes by without someone coming to talk to me about relational issues. The truth is ALL of us struggle in this area at one time or another.
And God takes it very seriously.
It is clear from multiple Scriptures that you cannot be right with God and wrong with other people. In fact, 1 John 4:20 says: “If anyone says “I love God,” but keeps on hating his brother, he is a liar; for if he doesn’t love his brother who is right there in front of him, how can he love God whom he has never seen?”
Paul took it even further in 1 Corinthians 13 when he said the truest sign of genuine spiritual maturity is LOVE. Pure and simple. If you aren’t loving others, you are not a mature Christian – no matter what “religious” activities you do. Paul took it to the extreme: even if you were willing to be “burned alive”, without love – even that would have no value. We make a huge mistake when we equate worship, service, prayer, giving etc. with spiritual maturity. As good as those things are – without love for others (even for people we don’t like) – they are totally meaningless.
Once again, the Bible is clear that if I am not right with people, I cannot be right with Him. And I have to do whatever it takes to try and make it right. And God tell us to do it!
God says if you have offended someone, you need to GO directly to them and make it right. Matthew 5:23-24: “If you are bringing an offering to God and you remember that your brother is angry at you or holds a grudge against you, then leave your gift before the altar, go to your brother, repent and forgive one another, be reconciled, and then return to the altar to offer your gift to God.” God says that being right with other people is more important than worship itself.
God says if you have been offended someone, you need to GO directly to them and make it right. Matthew 18:15: “If a brother sins against you, go to him privately and confront him with his fault. If he listens and confesses it, you have won back a brother.” Even if you are the “innocent” party, God calls YOU to take the initiative to fix the broken relationship.
Paul underscores the teaching of Jesus in Romans 12:18 says, “If it is within your power, as much as it depends on you, go and make peace with all people.”
The common thread in each of these three passages is the word “GO”. It is the key word in each passage. As a Christian, no matter what the relational problem is or who caused it – the sign of true spiritual maturity is to GO and work it out.
And here is where social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) have short-circuited Scripture.
The irony is that because of social media we are more “connected” than ever and at the same time more “disconnected” than ever.
Because on social media, instead of showing spiritual maturity and being obedient to God’s Word by GOING and working out the relational problem you might have with someone else, it is much easier to simply “UNFRIEND” them, “DELETE” them or “BLOCK” them.
This recent trend of using social media to push problem people out of my life very alarming. It creates an “outta sight/outta mind” mentality which is counterproductive. If I unfriend you, if I delete you or if I block you, I don’t have to deal with the problem or have you in my life anymore.
It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s painless. And it’s also UNBIBLICAL.
Instead of being obedient and following the teachings of Jesus about fixing broken relationships, those who choose to use social media to distance themselves from people they have issues with, are acting immaturely and cowardly.
In fact, social psychologists have already shown that social media may be the ultimate forum for “passive/aggressive” behavior:
It takes mature people and brave people to confront relational problems instead of hiding behind an online profile. We must never allow our online life to keep us from real life with real people.
In recent days, I have become very aware of my own failures in some relationships in my life. I have talked about this “personal” and “relational” renewal often over the past two months. With God’s help and in obedience to Scripture, I have taken intentional steps to try and resolve these issues with those I have offended or been offended by.
And never once did I use social media to fix it. And neither should you.
If you have a relational problem with another person – whether you caused it or they caused it or you both caused it – have the spiritual maturity to handle it BIBLICALLY.
Remember there is no “unfriend”, “delete” or “block” button in the Bible. There is only a GO button.
Stop hiding behind social media. Stop “unfriending” people you don’t like or don’t agree with and instead do what Jesus said.
Now is the time to GO and fix it.