Just the Facts

OK…I’m not a fan of Facebook. I have seen very little conversation there that is spiritually uplifting or even just plain positive. The feeds are filled with arguing, complaining, bickering, and foolishness.

People post things to get others to feel sorry for them, to seek support to right the injustices in their lives, or simply lie about situations. Here’s the cycle: someone rants, someone agrees, someone disagrees, then the people agreeing and disagreeing turn on each other and the fight is on. As believers in Christ, engaging in this type of behavior just isn’t scriptural…on so many levels.

The book of Proverbs warns all of us about something very dangerous with this type of behavior. Let’s look at Proverbs 18:17 (NLT). Here’s what it says:

The first to speak in court sounds right – until the cross examination begins.

In other words, there are two sides to every story. Folks who go out on Facebook with their tale of woe seldom provide all the facts. They provide the side of the story that supports their position. This is what Proverbs is talking about. Most stories sound believable until the cross examination begins. If we knew all the facts of the situation it would make us re-evaluate our thoughts and be ashamed of some of our public comments.

I spent many years of my life as a police officer. I was in court almost every week. When a defendant first took the stand to testify, the stories often sounded very good. It wasn’t until the cross examination took place that defendants were caught in lies. Witnesses took the stand and provided evidence that contradicted the defendant’s testimony. Now the judge had both sides of the story and the evidence.

Next time you read something on Facebook, ask yourself about the other side of the story. If you don’t have all the facts, not the hearsay, don’t engage in discussions like this. They are divisive and certainly don’t model Godly character. Participating in discussions like this is gossip.

Here’s a thought…get off Facebook entirely and do something productive with the time that God has given you. Before we open Facebook for the day let’s instead open our Bibles and hear what God has to say. God doesn’t speak in status updates and we can’t expect to grow spiritually by spending our time there.

A Story of Love In Action

When you think about love what do you think about? Hearts, flowers, holding hands? Well today I’m not talking about romantic love, I’m talking about loving your neighbors. I’m talking about what scripture means when it says in Mark chapter 12, verses 30 and 31. Here is what those verses say:

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.

Let’s talk a bit about loving your neighbors. This year at TFC we have a student who struggles with mobility. She uses a walker and it is really a chore to get around a campus as large as ours. One of our staff members put out a request through social media to locate an electric wheelchair for this student. Let me tell you what happened.

Our Stephens County Sheriff, Randy Shirley, saw the request and made some contacts on his own. He located a beautiful red electric wheelchair that had barely been used. He contacted the owner, made the donation arrangements, and picked up the chair. The Sheriff’s Office cleaned the chair, charged the batteries, and delivered it to the student here at TFC. I only wish you could have seen the student’s face when she took her first ride in that chair. Her life was just changed.

All of us at TFC want to thank our Sheriff and his staff for demonstrating to all our students what loving your neighbor looks like in action. In a world that now records law enforcement conducting their daily business and looks to criticize their every move, it’s too bad someone didn’t record this special delivery to our student in need. I do know this…our student recorded it. She recorded this in her memory and she will never ever forget the love and kindness shown by our Sheriff’s Office.

A Special Thank You

While following the events in Boston and West, Texas this week, I realized again that there are folks in this world that we need to simply thank for what they do.  As I watched the events of the week unfold from the safety of my home, I recognized that there are folks who are actually involved in the tragedies.  Folks working long hours to keep us safe.  As I watched firefighters, emergency medical workers, and police officers lose their lives this week I was thankful for those who are willing to give their lives for me.

When I think of our public safety workers I am reminded of John 15:13.  Here we read, There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.  I think of twenty-six year old police officer Sean Collier who was shot and killed in Boston this week. I think of fifty-two year old firefighter Kenny David, (father of three) who died fighting the fire in West, Texas this week.  At least ten of the dead in this explosion in Texas were first responders.

Our public safety folks knew when they pinned on their badge that one day they might need to give their life to save another.  Yet, that has never stopped them from doing their job when any of us call.  When most people would run away from a bad situation these folks are running toward it. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.

This week when you see a police officer don’t first check your speedometer.  Instead, take a moment and pray for them.  When you see firefighters or emergency medical workers pray for them.  If you have an opportunity to talk with our public safety folks take a minute and thank them for what they do.  Their jobs are not easy…working at all hours and in all weather, working on holidays, family birthdays and anniversaries and frequently dealing with folks who aren’t always in the happiest frame of mind.

But when we need them they always come, putting their lives at risk and their talents to work.  Police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical professionals….thank you for making a difference in our lives!