I messed up a few days ago.
One of my friends was extolling the virtues of the Trump/Pence ticket on Facebook. He went so far as to say he’d question the salvation of any Christian who wouldn’t vote for them on election day.
I responded with something snarky like, “Better start questioning my salvation then, but just remember Romans 14 as you do.”
I was blocked. Just like that. Not a word in response.
I have lots of opinions about Trump and Pence, but since I’ve already messed up online political talk once this week, let’s not go there.
Instead, let’s talk about hospitality.
You’d think I’d know by now… tongue-in-cheek jokes don’t work online. No one hears your tone of voice when you’re attempting some light-hearted teasing about sensitive topics. But somehow, I forgot once again how the voice in my head doesn’t make it through the ether.
On Facebook, you can’t tell that I’m smiling when I say, “Go ahead… question my salvation. I’m ok with that. It will probably make me a better Christian.” You can’t tell that I’m asking for gentleness and mercy for myself as you judge me, because I’m always in need of a little grace. (If you haven’t already looked up Romans 14 this might be the time to stop and read it.)
I failed to think about context.
I failed to remember the needs of my friend.
I failed to consider that a little teasing among friends that you see frequently is not the same as teasing someone that you haven’t seen for many years.
I failed to extend hospitality.
And that’s sad, because nothing matters more to me than hospitality.
When I fail to extend hospitality, that’s when you can really start questioning my salvation…
“Lord, when was it that we saw you. . . .a stranger. . . .and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
(Matthew 25:44-46, NRSV)
So if you read this, and I’ve offended you, I apologize. I’m deeply sorry.
And if that’s not you—if I haven’t managed to offend you yet—thank God. Maybe you can learn something from my crap, because God knows we need a little grace here.