If what we write semi-anonymously behind the veil of our blogs, our twitters, or in the comments of even the least controversial blog posts, is any reflection of what is in the deeper part of our hearts (and I mean “us” in the collective sense – Americans), we are truly lost. I won’t even pollute this page with examples of the cutthroat comments and opinions I’ve read. When I get to the bottom of a popular blog, I click away before reading the comments because reading them makes me sick to my stomach. What gives us any right to be so downright mean to one another? What is the point? The person who dishes it out, and their target alike, negativity hurts them both. Nothing good can ever come out of anything so purely vile. Proverbs 12:18 says, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” People who troll around the internet looking for opportunities to spew hatred, nonconstructive criticism, personal attacks and endless rants about everything from the President they thought was going to change their life in one year to a person’s pregnant figure — they are fools.
My mission, my reason for spending any time on this blog or in commenting on numerous others, is simply to fill the space with something other than what is contaminating so much of the internet. I long to “bring healing” with my words. Write positive comments when you like something. Flag or delete hurtful words. So many of us are already hurting. We are losing our homes, our jobs and our sons and daughters to conflict. Our families are breaking and our futures look insecure, if not bleak. There is no room for “rash words.”
“Rejoice always!” Other versions of scripture say “be joyful always,” but I think the ESV is a better translation because it really brings out the true meaning of this verse. Joy is often mistaken for happiness. Many people read this verse and say, no one can be happy all of the time, but happiness stems from “happenings,” or circumstances. Joy comes from a deeper understanding of where we stand and who we are in Christ — and the appropriate response is to “rejoice.” It is possible to feel sadness and still rejoice. However, a complaining spirit and joy cannot coexist. To rejoice, that is something we do, not something we feel. Joyful is something we are in terms of identity, it is not an emotion. God is not pulling a Bob Marley here by saying, “don’t worry, be happy.” It’s a command… he is saying, BE joyful. Rejoice ALWAYS. But it’s not just a commandment, in context it is a promise made to us through Jesus Christ. It’s a supernatural gift. He says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ” Where there is a will (of God), there is no other way. In his second letter to the church of Corinth, Paul proclaims, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” Such a commandment no longer feels like a burden, but rather an ax taken to the chains that have been keeping me from living life the way I was intended. He’s offering peace instead of turmoil, joy instead of hopelessness. I’m not going to reject such an offer and fall back into a pattern of disillusionment because that’s what comes naturally to my sinful nature. After all, fallen nature is not a reflection of divine purpose.