Several years ago, a nominal attendee of our church who had moved away from this area began a discussion with me on social media about tech companies. This person had a clear bias against all things Apple, while I was clearly an Apple user who owned several of their products. As our back-and-forth conversation progressed, it was apparent to me that this individual was intentionally mocking anyone (present company included) who would ever use Apple products, and every point I raised about why I personally chose Apple over Android was dismissed as ridiculous and unintelligent.
Unfortunately, I chose to trudge ahead in the discussion, making my case about why I used Apple’s products and suggesting that perhaps my season of life (I was significantly older than he) lended a bit more understanding of the nuances and advantages these products offered versus the so-called “freedom” that the Android products he touted offered. As the conversation progressed, my verbiage grew a bit more irate. Finally, after many responses, one of his friends joined in on the conversations and asked me why I was making such a big deal about it and why I was belittling this individual.
That question really caught me off guard. I did not intend to belittle him at all… I was simply trying to get him to acknowledge that it was valid for me to have a different viewpoint than his, and this was something he refused to do! But what I had lost sight of in all of this was that we were engaged in public conversation in a place where many others could see what we were both sharing. And to his friend, I came across as a condescending jerk.
As we look at how Christians should be different from the world when it comes to our online presence, it’s imperative that we remember that everyone is watching (or at least that many people often have the opportunity to watch if they care enough to do so). And if our goal is to be Kingdom Ambassadors for God, then me justifying my being a jerk by declaring my right to my own opinion just doesn’t cut the mustard!
My rights end at the point that they work against God’s will that I be His Ambassador to other people.
There is no greater overarching reason for my life than to be an Ambassador for God. Peter puts it like this in 1 Peter 2:16, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” That word translated as “servants” is the Greek word “doulos,” which is more accurately translated as “slave.” So Peter says that we are to live as slaves of God! Slaves! This is an incredible thing, and it’s a really big deal.
If I am living as a slave to God, then it doesn’t matter what I think about something, or whether my feelings are hurt, or whether I want to put someone in their place, or anything like that… I am to be His Ambassador. His Emissary. His Representative. To everyone else. And everyone else is watching. So it is on me to make sure that everything they see me do and hear me say is honoring God. And I don’t honor God when I’m being a jerk. Even if I do feel completely justified in the moment.
Because everyone is watching. Whether I like it or not. And this Ambassador doesn’t want to bring shame on the name of his King. Not for anything.