Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Bait

It seems everybody loves a good fight. Even so-called friends.

The world of social media has established this trend of baiting, or some may call it trolling. It's the idea that someone will post a bit of information - a news story, a cartoon, a meme, an opinion, inflammatory words - solely for the sake of eliciting a strong response. They want people to start arguing. They want people to start fighting. They want people to get into their baser selves and start tearing up the Internet. There are people who do this to the very people who "like" photos of their children.

And there are people who take the bait over and over and over again. There are people who spend their lives fighting on the Internet. What are you? Some kind of fish?

Worse than a fish. Ask any fisherman, and he'll tell you that not even the fish take every piece of bait. Sometimes, you dangle a worm out there for hours and watch the fish just swim right by. (And yet, this doesn't take the joy out of fishing. It's a weird, weird sport.)

What's the point of all this, though? The point is this: all this bait is meant for nothing more than to make the little things the big things. It's meant to distract us from the issues and get us arguing about the details. It's meant to take us away from the community and divide us into smaller groups, armies in the ideological war. And it's much older than social media.

This has been happening in the church for thousands of years. It was happening in the early church. It was happening in yesterday's church. It's happening in today's church. People start stirring up trouble, dropping bait to see who will bite, and all of a sudden, here we are fighting about every little thing...forsaking the big things, the things that really matter. 

It's why we're arguing about what baptism means. About how often we should take the Lord's Supper. About what constitutes the Lord's Supper. About what kind of music we worship to. About the role of women in our congregations. About what kind of teaching we should have. About what kind of media we use in our worship services. About what qualifies a man to be an elder. About how much we should be doing in our communities. About what we serve at the potluck next Sunday. About what we wear when we walk in our doors. About thousands of little things that divide us even while we all continue to proclaim the one thing that is true about all of us: we love Jesus.

Do you get that? We all love Jesus. Then we spend our time fighting about how we love Jesus, and the conversation isn't even about love any more. It's about all these little things that don't even matter. 

Where is this love?

Satan is a troll. 

From the very inception of God's church, the enemy of Christ has been getting us all riled up, arguing about the little things. He's been dropping bait in front of us like worms, and we're taking it. What are we? Some kind of fish?

Worse than fish. Not even the fish take every piece of bait that's dropped in front of them.

Jesus never said He'd make us fish; He said we would be fishers of men. Which means it's time for us to start dropping our own bait. It's time for us to start dropping love in the water and letting it hang there, the light catching it just right to start drawing in the fish. 

Because there are plenty of fish out there. Plenty of people just waiting to bite.

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