We live in a world that screams.
It was bound to happen.
The first electric television was produced in 1927. In the mid-1920s, only half of US homes had electricity, and programming was minimal.
Fast-forward a few decades and, with the widespread availability of electricity, the television became a common form of connection. Families gathered around the TV to watch the nightly news, talk shows, and programs.
This new media brought a new struggle that has changed the way we view the world… Advertising. We are now studies and marketed to more than any time in the history of the world. You cannot walk down a street without seeing a billboard, a bumper sticker, a banner, and a sign.
The more that marketers compete for our attention, the louder this world seems to get. A message that used to be whispered in the pages of the local newspaper or on the side of a barn is now screamed at us literally everywhere. Marketers create impressions in our email inbox, on our social media feeds, on the television programs we watch, and on the radio stations we listen to.
This isn’t new. But… the volume has changed.
Have you ever tried to talk in a crowded room? The volume of the room requires that you raise yours. You must speak louder to be heard. If you maintain the quiet tone of a casual one-on-one conversation, the room will drown you out.
This is now our reality.
Our world is screaming, and so are we.
We scream online, boldly proclaiming our opinions and perspectives. We shout them loudly, hoping to drown out the dissenting opinions.
We scream at each other. We have lost our ability to calmly and respectfully listen to others, especially others that hold different opinions and perspectives.
We scream because our world is screaming, and we want to be heard.
We scream because we want our voice to matter.
So, we scream.
When we scream, we’re often trying to make a point.
WHAT IS YOUR POINT?
Have you ever felt the need to make a point?
I’m sure you have. We all have.
What happens when you make a point? Have you ever noticed what happens? Have you noticed how your heart shifts? What words do you use? How does it go?
When we feel the need to make a point, something shifts in our hearts. Our heart moves from people to our point. Our perspective becomes paramount. We no longer care about how we say what we say, we just need to say it.
There are times for this.
If a neighbor drives recklessly in your neighborhood and your kids regularly play in your front yard, make a point to your neighbor about driving safely to protect your kids. Don’t worry about hurting your neighbor’s feelings. Worry about not protecting your kids.
While there are times to make a point, they’re not as frequent as we like to think.
So someone disagrees with your politics, why do you need to make a point?
So someone says something negative about you, why do you need to make a point?
What is your point?
Really, though. What is the point your life is making?
As Jesus-follower, we’ve already been given a pre-defined purpose to live for.
In His last words in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives us two simple purposes that literally every Christian is supposed to live for: “Go and tell” and “teach them to obey” (Matthew 28:19-20). This is the life purpose to guard and manage. This is something to reflect on, journal about, and seek God over. This cause is worth loss and risk.
This is why we’re instructed to “not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.” (Ephesians 4:14-15)
The world is shouting, but we don’t need to.
Just because it’s true doesn’t mean you need to say it. The filter of “is it true?” is vastly inadequate. This filter, “is it true?” will consistently posture you into making points that don’t make a difference.
Truth without love is brutal and hurtful. It’s information we cannot hear or process because of how it is shared. It’s a point made, but not a point received.
Love cannot exist without truth.
What do you want more… to make a point? Or to make a difference?
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
When we feel the tension to make a point, we’re often hijacking and manipulating a sincere window of opportunity from the Holy Spirit.
Your coworker has an annoying habit of putting other people down. It’s annoying and not helpful, and you feel the tension of the problem. Since we live in a world that screams, you feel the need to make a point. You can have a truthful conversation and make your point. Or… You can make a difference.
How do you really make a difference?
I’ll make this pretty simple: look to Jesus.
Jesus saw you in a mess. He left the comforts of heaven. Released His rightful claim to equality with the Father and came to earth as a human, which He designed and created. He was the way out of our mess, but that would require the willful sacrifice of His own life. And… That’s just what He did. He looked at the people and the problem and made Himself the sacrifice to provide a solution.
Making a difference will always look like Jesus.
If you think that’s out of your reach, let me encourage you that it is entirely within your reach. It’s not only something you’re capable of doing, but it’s also something that Jesus commanded you to do!
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” Jesus in John 15:12
LET’S DO BETTER
A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a little girl. It was about lunchtime, and she was being unusually shy. I got down on her level, looked her in the eyes, and asked her, “How are you.” Her response was, “Can you get out of my face?”
I laughed. The girl’s mom was embarrassed. The little girl was a bit hungry and in an abnormally grumpy mood. She didn’t want me in her face. I don’t blame her. That happens with kids.
What do we do with our kids in those moments?
We teach them that just because it’s true, that doesn’t give you permission to say it. We talk to our kids about loving their friends and neighbors. We tell them about the power of their words and encourage them to be kinder and more responsible.
Why do we think it’s ok to be so childish while trying to make a point?
Too often, we’re like grumpy little kids with no self-control screaming our opinions at each other. We want to be heard. We think we’re right. We want to make a point.
We miss the point.
You’ve been invited to make a difference in a broken world, to love the unlovable, and become a living example of Jesus.
I can promise you this, if you’ll commit to love the people when you feel like making a point, God is going to use you to make a difference.
Change your “is it true?” filter. Stop “keeping it real” and speaking the truth without love. When you feel the tension that causes you to want to make a point, lean into it, and look for the opportunity to make a difference.
Love is the platform that allows truth to be heard.
You were created to make a difference. Your ability to love others will create that platform. Love them all, the easy to love, and those who are challenging. Love them because it makes a difference. Love them because it’s what you both need. Love them because you were created to do that!
To echo the words of Jesus…
Go. Love. Listen. Lead.
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What’s one point you’ve been trying to make that you can now see is an opportunity to make a difference?