The world of social media; Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., shapes and defines a great portion of our lives. It has both positives and negatives which can be debated for hours on end. What is not debatable is that those that use social media accounts have had a few shared experiences and most likely have common feelings regarding them.
One such experience is the “fishing status update.” I call it this because these are the status updates that are vague and clearly are fishing for people to comment, call or text in order for the person to share whatever difficulty they are having at the moment. Most of us that have read these type of status updates have the shared feeling of wondering what is going on with the said person but also feeling annoyed that they would use a status update to fish for sympathy. We often think, “If they really want my sympathy why don’t they just tell me what is really going on.”
So at this point you may be asking, why is the pastor taking time to write about social media? I use this example because I believe it illustrates the point of how we often come to church and how we are among our church family.
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
Here Paul clearly commands us that we are to bear the burdens of those we love within the church. We are told in scriptures that we are to love the Lord and to love one another as the greatest commandments. Part of loving one another is bearing the burdens of those people. Listening to them, praying for them, and being a supportive part of their life.
While I don’t believe there is anyone in the church that is not willing to perform this part of being a church member the problem actually comes because we often don’t allow others to know of those burdens. All too often we come to church with our “church face” on and work for the entire time to hide the emotions we are feeling. When we feel as though we are not strong enough to keep our church face on we choose to stay home rather than being exposed. When we come to church we feel a need to post a vague status update that doesn’t reveal exactly what we are experiencing.
Let us be prayerful that we might leave our “church faces” at home. Let us come to church fully revealing where we are in life and the struggles that we are facing. When we are able to do so two things will happen. First of all, the message will resonate in a much stronger way because we are not spending our emotional energy to keep up appearances. Second, you will provide your church family with the opportunity to bear your burdens.
In the days to come let us be prayerful that as a church we will not be posting vague status updates in a virtual realm, but that we might come together as a close-knit family ready to listen and love. Let us seek out intentional fellowship during the week. Not pastor and members always, but members coming together in bonds of fellowship. Let us work in the days to come to truly be prepared to let others bear our burdens.
From the Desk of the Pastor,
May the Lord Bless you is our prayer — Elder J.W. Cunningham