Day four (or 3 and a half) of my Facebook fast, and I must admit... I'm already feeling better. I had no idea the extent of the negative toll it was taking on me.
The timing has been really amazing, because in our church's New Testament reading schedule, we're currently going through Paul's letters to Timothy. Young Timothy was a preacher, Paul's protoge, and a man who was prone to stomach problems and discouragement.
I've read I and II Timothy many times before, but never under the kind of stress I've been enduring lately. I've never read it when my heart has been so broken for friends, family and acquaintances who are caught up in the worldly deceptions of the last days. So when I re-read II Timothy Chapter 2 this afternoon, the words hit me square between the eyes. Paul knew Timothy's heart for people, and instructed him how to handle the persecution and stress that he was under.
Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those
who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant
them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (II Timothy 2:23-26).
That's exactly why I've taken an extended break from social networking. I'm tired of the arguments, quarreling, and misunderstandings. I can look back and honestly say I've done my level best to respond in truth and love whenever I've been questioned about trying to live up to God's standards. The world is becoming less God-like and more evil every day. I'm not perfect, and I don't pretend to be. But I do my best to read God's word and follow His commands. What breaks me up is this: I watched two teenage girls on the Anderson Cooper show proclaim their love for God, their respect for their parents, and repeat their written vows to remain sexually pure until marriage. Cooper and his audience took them downtown for making such a horrible vow! Saving themselves for marriage? Who do they think they are? A short time later, the media celebrated Mr. Cooper's announcement that he believes he's a homosexual.
But God forbid that I should pray for Mr. Cooper, because that makes me a judgmental hater. God forbid that I should stand up for morality in any form, because it might make people feel bad. God forbid that we should simply repeat the words of our Creator.
So as it turns out, I've done exactly as Paul prescribed. Do my best to be kind, pray daily that I don't resent those who oppose me, and pray that God will show my friends His truth through His word. It was the last part of the verse though, that really struck me... hard. The devil has taken them captive to do his will.
They're drowning, and don't even know it. God wants to throw them a lifeline, but they refuse to accept it. That's what hurts the most.
Fasting and praying can change hearts. Arguing on a social networking site... not so much.