While I’ve never been punched in the stomach, I am quite familiar with that gut-wrenching, hunched-over, arms-clenching experience.
That is exactly how I felt after the flood of comments started pouring in from a controversial social media post I made.
Oh. My. Word.
Literally, my words. My intentions were to create an encouraging conversation where my friends — from all seasons of life and all denominations and beliefs — could collectively come together with differing opinions and encourage one another despite our differences. Unfortunately, I was left with cruel words and condescending comments.
Insert stomach punch.
I let this uncomfortable feeling resonate within me and actively asked the Holy Spirit to help me see what I had missed. Surprisingly, John 3:30 almost instantly ignited in my mind:
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Though I wasn’t sure how this verse applied to me, I just knew it was what God had put on my heart. Later that day, as I was dissecting the social media post with my husband, something he said managed to completely tear open my heart with conviction: “Do you feel like God was glorified by that post?”
Suddenly John 3:30 made more sense. These were the words that John the Baptist spoke in reply to his followers. His followers were arguing over the issue of purification, and they felt like John’s popularity was decreasing: “And they came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him’” (John 3:26, ESV).
These followers essentially said, “Hey — this dude, Jesus, is baptizing more people than you. What’s up with that? Aren’t you going to say something?”
John readily responded by exalting Jesus. He didn’t argue or rebuke his followers; he simply explained how it was his joy to be the best man, not the bridegroom. (John 3:29) Even though John was baptizing and doing great things for God’s Kingdom, it wasn’t about him. It was about Jesus.
Even though my intentions seemed pure, my heart wanted to exalt my opinion over other social posts I had been reading all week. I wanted my opinion heard so that there would be some justice for the hurt I was witnessing all around social media.
That’s where I failed. But that’s also where God met me. My opinions weren’t the problem — the problem was sharing them without first considering if my words glorified God. That gut-wrenching feeling wasn’t because people disagreed with me; it was because I didn’t feel like anything I said pointed others to Christ.
Just like John, we are ambassadors for Christ, paving the way for His return. Arguing across social media or anywhere else is not how we show others the love of Jesus. We allow God to increase when we humble ourselves in constant prayer, (Romans 12:12) trust God’s promises (John 16:33) and hold our thoughts captive to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
And when we do this, sister, we allow the gospel to be glorified and others to better know Jesus for who He is. That is something worth the gut punch every time.
Lord, thank You for being our heavenly Father, for refining us and convicting us when we need it. Forgive us when we forget to seek You and Your Kingdom first. Protect our hearts against the things of this world, remembering that You, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, have overcome the world. May we always give You the glory You deserve. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.