With the pandemic raging on as we move into the second month of 2021, and with the dumpster fire of a year that was 2020, we are all looking for light and hope.
Some are going about their search for joy and peace in absolutely the wrong way.
Almost every day on social media, I’ll see a post with this basic sentiment:
“Hundreds of thousands of people have died from Covid, but I am still here, and so are you, so thank God for that.”
The way I saw this backhanded praise displayed today was not Covid related but just as horrific.
On Twitter, a young lady had taken a picture of her daughter who was in the hospital after a terrible car accident which resulted in severe brain trauma. The mother was soliciting positive thoughts and prayers.
The picture was quite jarring. The daughter was on a hospital bed in a neck brace, eyes closed, with wires and tubes crisscrossing to several different machines behind her.
Another user, someone who’s mind is clearly a mostly empty space, quoted the mother’s tweet with the picture and commented, “If I am ever ungrateful God, I am sorry. God I thank you.”
Nothing much people do in this life surprises me anymore but the level of anger that brewed up in me was so swift I didn’t realize I was squeezing my phone in my hand and all my toes had curled up.
I am no religious scholar or any kind of professional when it comes to how God operates, but I find it extremely difficult to grasp the concept of God wanting praise at the expense of someone else’s tragedy.
It’s the most uncompassionate, inconsiderate thing I have seen that has nothing to do with God and everything to do with “the flesh”.
The way people use religion as justification to tap dance on the dismay of others to lift up one’s self is flat out sickening and irreprehensible. Can anyone show me in the bible where it says, “I am your God and you must kickith your brother whilst he is down to praise me.”?
People are insistent to use religion as a way to separate themselves out in an attempt to seem better than everyone else. Religion was intended to bring people together in love and in closer relationship with God, but human arrogance has caused it to create a gaping chasm between God and Christians, and continues to be used by Christians to draw lines in the sand between each other.
We all want to be loved. We all want to be valued and heard and accepted, and for those of us that believe, we want to be connected to God as much as possible. The problem becomes when people use God as a smoke screen for their attempts to externally fill internal voids.
I grew up in a Baptist church, and one of the things I remember most vividly was the loudness of it all.
The choir was most impactful to the audience on the loud parts of the song. People would jump up and dance and cry loudly, all in “praise for the Lord”. Some of it was genuine, but it was painfully obvious when it wasn’t.
The pastor would get the most reaction on the loud parts of the sermon, particularly the end where the message would become more sing-songy.
There was a loudness and ostentatiousness to praising God that we were inadvertently taught, and this loudness has stuck with this current social media driven generation because the noise, the loudness of it all, drowns out the true emptiness people really feel.
The loudness does nothing to heal it.
This is not to infer that praise to God is not healing, but the way praise is offered up makes all the difference.
God does not always need to be praised out loud. Those that think public praise is always a necessity are more self serving than God serving.
Often I think God is in heaven saying, “Dude, you really could have said that another way or kept it between me and you.”
I know it’s now always this clear cut.
In a pandemic, something so many of us never even thought about experiencing, it is a time to be thankful for life.
People that have survived serious medical emergencies, health issues; all of these people have every right to be thankful to God, but even in praise, I think God wants us to show compassion to one another.
Your praise will still reach God if you sit in your closet with the lights off and yell and cry praise to him.
Your praise will still reach God if you close your car door and shout to the heavens in private and save your #favoraintfair social media post about said car.
God will most definitely hear your praise if you just close your eyes and say “God I thank you” instead of directly using someone else’s tragic experience as supposed praise.
That is in fact not praise. Rather, it is the mark of a terrible human being.
You can thank God for your life without pointing to the fact that someone else died.
You can thank God for beating cancer without having to point to the fact that someone else didn’t.
You can thank God for your good health without bearing down on someone who is having health challenges.
God’s praise and someone else’s tragedy are mutually exclusive. You don’t get to offer up thanksgiving on the back of some else’s loss as that totally undermines the praise.
The best offering of thanks to God is exercised in a way that uplifts God and shows compassion for God’s people. That is the best praise.
Anything else is loud, selfish, hellish ego and unmitigated gall that chokes the life out of God’s love for us and deadens the love and compassion we are supposed to have for each other.