Things are getting crazy. Every issue is getting dogpiled by anyone with a computer and an opinion. The democratization of media and publishing has brought an avalanche of dime-store “experts” offering their (often flawed and simplistic) perspectives. It’s enough to drive a person crazy. Here are five gentle biblical reminders for those suffering from Facebook fatigue and Click-and-Share whiplash.
Jesus and the Chaos of the Crowd
The gospel of Mark reports the early exponential growth of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus was healing and performing miracles and teaching with an authority no one had ever experienced (Mark 1:27). The crowds swelled to get near him.
Then one morning Jesus went missing. The disciples spent the day looking for him. They finally spotted him as he emerged from the wilderness.
“Where have you been,” they asked, “the crowds are waiting to see you.” Jesus said, “Let’s get away from here. Let’s go to small villages” (Mark 1:38). Emphasis on the word small (Jesus would never have made it as a TV Evangelist).
You should have a regular period of time when you unplug, move away from the maddening crowd (before they drive you mad), and get alone with God.
The biggest problem with being a hardcore Democrat or Republican or Libertarian or … fill in the blank, is that eventually, you have a hard time distinguishing between the political narrator you have come to love and the voice of God.
Get away from the narrator you have nurtured in your mind and find the voice of God.
5 Gentle Reminders to Relieve Your Stress
Here are five biblical truths that might help you as you escape the voices of the new media monsters.
1. You don’t have to be perfect.
… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …” (Romans 3:23).
No one is perfect. This biblical truth should do two important things:
- Bring Humility — the realization that you have been wrong in the past should bring a sober recognition that you could be wrong now, taking the edge off your dogmatism.
- Bring Relief — it’s a terrible load to have to always be right. Sometimes, you are wrong and that’s okay. Doesn’t that feel better already? Lighter?
God has exclusive rights to perfection. The Bible gives you a mulligan. You’re not perfect. Let that sink in and get over it.
2. Having a bad day is okay.
… I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway” (Romans 7:19).
This is a corollary to the not-being-perfect point. We all have bad days. Stop beating yourself up on those days when nothing comes out right.
I’ve written at least one blog article per week for the last three years. Some of them were obviously written on a bad day. Should I delete them? No. Let them stand. They are a reminder that we all have bad days.
Learn to take your bad days with the good and view every new day as a chance to practice getting it right.
3. Small steps count as progress.
Mark well that God doesn’t miss a move you make; he’s aware of every step you take” (Proverbs 5:21).
My problem is that I want perfection without perspiration.
Preaching is what I do. I’ve been doing it for thirty-plus years. When I go back to my first few years of preaching, I cringe — both at what I said and the way I said it.
Was it that bad? Sometimes. A few times it was actually quite good … for the place I was at the moment. I was learning, practicing, getting better.
I now have a doctorate in preaching and I still make mistakes, but I can see progress — small steps to a better me.
The same is true for whatever you say and do. God sees every little effort. He knows your heart.
Keep at it … and celebrate the small steps on the way to a better you.
4. Asking for help is strength.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
Americans are famous for their love of independence and individual rights.
One of our greatest national icons is The Lone Ranger. It’s in his name: he’s alone in his fight against evil.
One of our first American superheroes was Superman. He’s a stranger, alone on a foreign planet, alone as he fights the enemy on behalf of a helpless humanity.
Even Jesus, half the time, seemed to be alone. His hapless disciples trying but failing.
Yet, in his most difficult moment, Jesus asked his disciples, “Sit here while I pray” (Mark 14:32). In other words: I need you to be with me right now. I don’t want to be alone.
Asking for help is not in our DNA. Yet, the bible teaches us that we are strongest when we admit our weaknesses (2 Cor. 9:12). We are safest when we cling to each other (Eccl. 4:12). We are wisest when we ask for help (Psalm 17:6).
5. People love and appreciate you.
I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3).
The Apostle Paul was constantly under attack. He lived with a particular belief in Jesus that brought rage from liberal and conservative alike.
Even in prison, awaiting a death sentence, he drew strength from remembering those who loved and appreciated him. He told them how much their love meant to him.
When you put your thoughts onto the digital highway you are bound to discover a few haters. When you express an opinion, there are certainly those who will passionately disagree. When they are screaming at you it’s easy to forget that there are many more (usually silent voices) who love and appreciate you.
It’s okay to listen to those who disagree. In fact, it can be extremely productive. However, in the process don’t forget those who love and appreciate you. Their voices are often a lot softer and run the risk of getting drowned out.
Speak your truth.
Do it in love.
Cling to Jesus.
And … remember these five biblical truths …