Out on a meme-shaped limb.
No matter how often wiser and deeper people speak truth, there is STILL this bizarre phenomenon on social media that I call the "guilt trip with no ticket" meme.
Now, some are sweet like "if you love puppies, feed them" or "if you like flowers, pick them". Seriously, my teeth hurt from all the sugar, just from reading that.
My favourites are the ones that say "if you or anyone you know has been attacked by dragons, share this recipe for dragon-fire repellent and save lives!!".
Why? Because they use a meme to teach a lesson whilst making the reader a) laugh and b) want to try a new recipe, and c) instruct while using irony.
But, let's think about this for a minute. Who liked that older spinster at church who always had a nearly shredded Kleenex in the sleeve of her pale pink cardigan that was held together at her neck by a pearl chain instead of buttons? Who wore cat-eye glasses in 1998 even though those glasses were actually made in 1951? Who muttered that the sweet old gals who wore Velcro shoes to church were destined for a life of sin, because God only loves people who try? Not taking into consideration that those sweet old gals suffered from painful arthritis that made wearing "proper" shoes an agonizing experience?
"God helps those who help themselves...yes they do...only sinners use Velcro!"
You know the one, don't you? The one your parents spoke nicely of in front of you, but actually kept you away from? Mostly because your dad knew the woman would say something mean to an already oversensitive tween with raging hormones, bad skin, painful braces, and who walked like a drunk baby giraffe.
And because that old gal said the same thing to your mom when she was a kid.
"Now, Bitsie, perhaps a few less chocolate bars in the garden shed and maybe a few hundred laps around the school track might attract the boys, hmmm?"
So, take that passive aggressive person, and make her into a well traveled Facebook meme. One that says things like "If you love Jesus, click like and share. I know who won't."
Because the King of Heaven can be worshiped with clicking the 'like' on a meme?
Because broken hearts will be mended by a guilty nudge to share a picture of a prince dying on a Roman cross?
How many persecuted believers would look at that kind of soft evangelism and think, "yes, you're all really laying it on the line with a click, aren't you?"
Didn't like that last sentence, did you?
Me either. But one needs to really REALLY ponder the state of the world, and how the world sees the average Christian. I once asked an acquaintance to tell me what she thought of Christians, and to her credit, she didn't answer with what would have been a very polite but firm response.
She actually didn't answer at all.
THAT told me a lot more than I wanted to know.
I once told another friendly acquaintance that I was praying for that person's family. BOOM, down went the wall of ice.
The friendly factor went from 60 to 0.
Why? Why did me mentioning anything faith based shut them down?
Because the name of Jesus has been tarnished by TV preachers who pocket millions and live in homes that rival royalty. By people who take from the wounded in the name of God. By people who sing hymns on Sunday and do very greasy business on Monday. By people who publicly love their wives and privately whisper things only therapy and good friends can fix.
By people who swear they need a new plane to minister to their flock???
By people who prey on the weak, take from the poor, and do it with a Bible in one hand and a bat in the other.
And by people who post pictures of starving children and then say "Can this child get an amen?"
If you want to be effective on social media, if you want to make a difference and be someone that others know to be fair and non-judgmental, if you want to be that believer that your non-Christian friends consider the exception to the rule?
Then don't post things that make people cringe. It's that easy.
So, go ahead and post your "I hate June bugs!" statements, your vacation pictures, your funny stories from wherever, (as long as no one is mocked!!)...but lay off posting ANYTHING that starts with "If..." and tells you to click to express your faith.
It's the bottomless well of cyber-space version of "honk if you love Jesus."
Because if that was a theologically sound way to evangelize the masses? Every goose from here to Mars just declared their faith.