Redemption in a Digital Age
In this age of social media we may easily forget in all our chatter that everything shared about us in text or video or soundbite is permanent. It is as if it were written in stone.
Recently someone was given a high profile role by the government. Their future in that post and probably in any other government role was then utterly trashed by something which that person had published about himself on Social Media many years ago.
When someone else found this and shared its content and location there was a flood of Schadenfreude filled delight as news media joyfully displayed this person’s dirty washing to the world together with loud condemnation of him plus to the government for employing such a ‘heinous and vile’ (sic) person.
The mob was loosed and they seemed to enjoy the spectacle as this life was thrown to wolves and torn to shreds.He was demeaned and hounded out of his job.
(Proverbs 26:20-22 ESV). For this person, the whisperer was he, himself. He was a victim of his own accidental self-destruction by gossiping about himself in a place where the words cannot be deleted or ever repented of. He built his character reference and it became a rope that the current society used to hang him out to dry.
In the Bible there is recognition of the destructive nature of slanderous language such as gossip, no matter what its source may be.It is shown clearly both in the Old and New Testaments.
“Gossip” and its synonyms such as slanderer & whisperer are terms which frequently recur. The Hebrew term used in the Old Testament apparently means someone who reveals secrets, tells tales or is a scandal-monger.
The Law of Moses prohibits it, and especially in the book of Proverbs, the Bible has much to say on the subject. As in, “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28). Then this: “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9). With social media there is no covering – it is a place where one may create a wind and reap a whirlwind.
There is more about this in the New Testament. Some of the most forthright language can be found in the epistle of James that begins when speaking of the tongue, (or chattering speech), “A restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Thoughts and actions today can be so freely expressed in social media – it is even used by people to encourage young folk to display their selves in embarrassing ways so that others publish this abroad to demean and control them through social media. They use this as blackmail that pulls these young victims ever deeper into displays of ever more murky behaviour. A recent editorial in the Guardian posited that, ‘Why not regulate social media like tobacco or alcohol?
Social media is like fire.It is a wonderful servant but a tyrannical and terrifying master.
Thank God for the Way of Salvation as it is in Christ Jesus. ‘Though your sins are as a filthy, scarlet blood soaked rag – they shall be made white as freshly fallen and wind driven snow.’(Isaiah 1:18)
To reiterate the former quote - “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9). When we confess our sin(s) to God, because of Jesus’ bearing of these sins on his cross – God casts them into the deepest place of His forgetfulness – never to be remembered anymore – they are gone into oblivion. Jesus took the sins of the whole world – past – present and future – into the deepest realms of hell and left them there – left them all behind – when he rose from the dead and then ascended to His Father and ours. Now His holy, scarlet blood replaces our vile scarlet sin and washes it all away.
The person in the opening paragraphs never thought his own words would come back to haunt him with such utter condemnation. Now everyone can escape this evil life if they will believe the Gospel. For, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. “Those who do not walk after the ways of the flesh but in the way of His Spirit.”(Romans 8:1). Anyone can take their self- no matter how horrible - to Jesus and he will accept each of us as we are and give us His way into faith in Him, He will never pass on knowledge of our faults. Faith in His cross & Resurrection means that anyone can be transformed and, as the disciple who loved him says in his first letter, “As he, (Jesus) is, so are we in this world”. (1John 4:17) That means that our Father in heaven sees us utterly without taint or blemish because we trust in his Son to wash all sin away and make us just as perfect in His sight as Jesus is.
We are Instagram(ed) to the heavens as perfect.
The best thing in all creation is this way of faith that saves us from:-
1, The world of social or any other media,
2, The flesh or anything else we may foolishly do or be and
3, The devil and anything else that corrupts or misleads.
This is all because of who Jesus is, what he did and who he continues to be in this world and in the world to come. This is for all of us. This includes the person who was accidentally self-destructive. Even this person can have a good future.
Faith in Jesus makes us clean.