The Most Astonishing Witnessing Tools in History


This is one of those posts that has been brewing for some time. The one I haven’t, but yet have, wanted to write. So here goes.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35

Permission to Judge

In his book The Jesus Style, author Gayle Erwin pointed out an undeniable fact about this verse: Jesus is giving everyone permission to judge us by our actions.

Am I suggesting that God doesn’t judge the heart? No, not at all. I’m merely pointing out that Jesus said “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” so that I can talk about Facebook and all the other Social Networking tools.

Networks and Language

Several years ago while doing a Bible study I came across this quote in the introduction of a Commentary on the Book of John:

“Some suggest world conditions were ripe for the spread of the gospel. The Romans had ushered in an era of relative peace through law and order. Their network of roads made travel more convenient. Widespread use of the Greek Language simplified communication. At the same time, the proliferation of empty religions among many people created a spiritual hunger for something genuine.”
– Holman New Testament Commentary of John, Kenneth O. Gangel

Sounds like today:

  • The United States and her allies have ushered in an era of relative peace.
  • Networks of travel – roads, rails and flight paths – have made global travel beyond convenient and accessable
  • Online networks have literally connected us all. “3rd World Nations” are coming online at unbelievable rates because of mobile phones (many of which are Smart Phones)
  • English is the most common language online
  • And do I need to highlight the proliferation of empty religions and spiritual hunger?

Put this all together and we get the fact that conditions are ripe and you and I have access to the most astonishing witnessing tools in human History.

The New City Gate

And as a brilliant friend recently said, if you think these tools aren’t changing people’s minds, you are naive.

“Social media doesn’t just influence thinking. These days it OWNS how people think. Social media is the new water cooler, the new town hall. Ask anyone from Egypt if Facebook caused any ripples in their government in the last decade. People are thinking through issues and reasoning together in this forum. When you make the discussion meaningful, your voice makes a difference.” – Teri Modisette Unthank

Permission to Judge 2.0

So what is our witness when we:

  • Display anything but love to a person who posts and the people about which they are posting?
  • Defend our “right” to post untruths because “well, that’s what people like that would say!”?
  • Post anything that labels an entire group of people as anything except loved by God?
  • Accuse anyone of anything without solid, solid, SOLID facts?
  • Insult a friend’s intelligence by naming all the contradictory Scripture verse(s) that they’ve OBVIOUSLY suddenly forgotten?
  • Label everyone in a group of people mentioned in a post as damned to hell because well, they are sinners?
  • Use a tone of “voice” and language that we would NEVER use speaking face-to-face?
  • See ourselves as Scripture or fact police?
  • “Discipline a friend in love” in public instead of a private message or God forbid, in person?
  • Use these “astonishing witnessing tools” for anything less than showing the love you were first shown?

The next time you feel led to post or comment, think about the fact that the world is watching just as Jesus said they should.