Are you a fan of card games, namely poker or blackjack?
For three years I lived 45 minutes from Atlantic City, a resort city in southern New Jersey. Just the mention of that city conjures up casinos and bars in my mind. As a matter of fact, the city ranked as the second most sinful city in the United States in 2016, according to Trulia, an online real estate website.
These traits alone carry suspicion of Atlantic City and its operations of not being above board — meaning legitimate, honest and open.
But Atlantic City is a place, not a person.
Let’s turn our attention to people — particularly Christians. Are we operating above board?
“Above board” is a phrase that is rooted in the world of gambling. In fact, the phrase had been related to playing cards fairly. In other words, to avoid the suspicion of cheating, a person would make sure his or her cards were above the level of the playing table, according to word-detective.com.
As believers in God, we are to shine light into the darkness. We are to be that example of Jesus that others may not ever see.
But is that possible with all the hoopla on social media, particularly Facebook, in this season? What is a fair and honorable discussion? What could be carried under a cloud of suspicion?
COVID-19 has brought people’s true colors into the limelight. I am seeing some fellow Christians sling insults, which I will not state here because those words are just too nasty and stomach-wrenching to share. Folks at each end of the political spectrum are doing the same, posting any article that can be found to make their point.
But are we really getting our points across? What are we trying to accomplish? I am doubting that we are being above board.
Rather, we are operating in our own strength, in our own biases and in our own intuitions.
On social media — and in life — we should proclaim our life as being a platform for God. For so many, the platform is being used to overlook God.
Here is what I see being accomplished: rude, disheartening, uncaring comments that won’t change the world, let alone anyone’s mind. Aren’t we better than this?
Christ died for our sins, and this is how we represent Him to family and friends?
Philippians 1:21 states, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Where is the love? Where is the compassion?
John 15:12 states, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
1 John 4:8 states, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
We need to stop, think and research — and most of all, be caring.
Consider this when putting something on Facebook (or saying or doing anything really): Will this action make a difference? Will this post impact someone’s eternity? Am I resembling Christ in other people?
If the answer is no, then maybe it is time to reconsider your action. Maybe it’s time to step back, pray and let love in.
1 Corinthians 16:14 states, “Do everything in love.”
And while you are at it, wondering if you are being loving, consider this: “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).
So, to continue with the card-playing theme, the next time you are tempted to “play” a spade, club or diamond, consider how it would be to lay down a heart. A heart, written as לֵב in Hebrew, means “literally, the vital organ which pumps blood, but [is] also seen as the seat of thought; the mind,” according to ancient-hebrew.org.
Colossians 3:12 states, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (NET).
Alex Davis of Bradford, Pennsylvania, is the director of ministry operations at Open Arms Church and a local ministerial candidate pursuing the deacon track. He has been involved in the ministry since 2016 and has also worked in journalism in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is married to Samantha, and they have two felines.