3 LESSONS FROM JOHN CRIST’S “IF BIBLE CHARACTERS HAD iPHONES” VIRAL COMEDY VIDEO
A few days ago, I saw a skit on Godtube.com. In it, Christian comedian, John Crist, along with colleague Trey Kennedy, imagined they were receiving social media updates from Bible characters and conversed about these updates. While very funny, that exchange got me thinking about how we live our lives as Christians today. I congratulate Jon Crist for the skit because, in my opinion, it is an excellent portrayal of who we are today, and the picture isn’t very pretty from a biblical point of view.
Someone may say, “Oh loosen up, this is just entertainment!” (Bear with me. I know it’s all make-believe for laughs but we can learn from it. I write a bit of fiction myself and people pick valuable lessons from it.) The truth is that many of us engage in flippant talk like we saw in that viral video everyday and through it, we serve scorn, judgment and a whole lotta hurt to others. You see, whenever we try to catch up with the world, we lose something of who God intended us to be: lights shining in a dark world.
“14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16
To help us get on track to shine as lights, I’m sharing three lessons on Christian living I learnt from the skit. I have paraphrased the jokes the lessons arose from but their essence remains:
3 Lessons on Christian Living From The Comedy Video
1. Excessive use of smart phones and social media often results in shallowness, misalignment of values and a disconnect from God’s way of thinking:We shouldn't allow our use of smart phones and social media to disconnect us from God. Click To Tweet
Joke: “Jesus got the blue check mark. How? He only has like 12 followers.” For those unfamiliar with social media, the blue check mark indicates an account has been verified, that it is the authentic account of an important person or someone sharing information of public relevance.
There’s no specified number of followers for verification but we tend to rate people and organisations by their social media following. We struggle to boost and maintain our following ourselves. We pine over lack of likes, comments and shares. Is this really how God wants us to see ourselves or others?
“The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.” – Psalm 147:11
Going by this scripture, devotion to God should rank higher with us than popularity. Yet, a brother or sister may be sharing highly edifying content but because they don’t have lots of followers, we often disregard their posts and jump on the bandwagon where the crowds are. There is nothing wrong with following people with tons of followers but the content of their posts should matter more to us than the numbers they pull.
(Related: What Is the Value Of A Person’s Life?)
And in our own posting, our primary concern should be to say what God wants us to say and leave Him to bless those He wishes with it, be they many or few. That does not mean we shouldn’t promote our posts if we can, but that we shouldn’t make responses to those posts an idol.
For most of us, the impact of our lives extends beyond social media. By God’s grace, we touch lives daily in our homes, offices, churches and communities. And even on the Internet, we reach many more people than those who follow us or react to our posts. I think we need the help of the Holy Spirit when we use various Internet platforms, otherwise they will feed our vanity and fill our hearts with garbage.
The same problem noted above is observable in our churches. We have some mega churches that are not rooted in the Word but many Christians think the numbers reflect the presence and power of God. Some ministers even dilute the word of God to make it less offensive and draw in the crowds (2 Timothy 4:3-4). That, in itself, is offensive to God (Isaiah 5:20, 2 Peter 2:1).
2. We don’t show enough compassion to those who err:
Jokes: “The Prodigal Son took half his father’s money, went to another city and blew the whole thing.”
“Lot’s daughter had a baby. You know who the father is.”
We gossip about the plight or misdeeds of fellow believers and unbelievers. We make unkind comments that bring no comfort, encouragement or strength to the former and no desire to repent to the latter.
(Related: Spread Some Gladness Today)
Sometimes, we are quick to judge and assume the worst like the following joke shows:
“You’re following the woman at the well. Dude, check your heart.” Befriending those struggling in sin is assumed to be an endorsement of their actions but it isn’t always so. Jesus was also called a “friend of sinners”. That should make it a coveted title but those who wear it are attacked even more viciously than He was by the religious folks of His day, the world being a global village now (Matthew 11:16-19, 9:9-13).
I remember a few decades ago when everyone in church would weep when a member fell into sin and had to undergo punishment. I don’t know how many churches are like that today. But that was how Paul agonised over the fall of fellow believers in the early church.
“When someone is weak, then I feel weak too; when someone is led into sin, I am filled with distress.” – 2 Corinthians 11:29 (GNT)
When people err, we should correct them in love. And a very important way of showing that love is to uphold them in prayer individually and collectively. Spreading bad reports in the Body of Christ does not help anyone, it only glorifies the enemy. Our conversations should add grace to the hearers (Colossians 4:6), not help to harden their hearts by talking lightly or unkindly about others.
And since the reactions are based on updates coming from the persons concerned, it teaches me that we really must be careful how much of our lives we share on social media. What is the object of putting everything out there: the good, the bad and the ugly? I would rather advise circumspection unless the Lord has put it in our hearts to bare all in order to bless others.
(Related: Child of God, Your Language on Social Media Matters)
3. Pollution is rampant, even in our midst:
Joke: “Bathsheba shared her spring break pix and David is commenting all over.” We know how the story ends. ???
We follow fellow Christians and they post indecent pix of themselves and we admire them, the likes and compliments flow in. Evil seeds are sewn in the process: pride in the poster, envy and lust in the followers.
Modesty and moderation are still important for Christians today. As stated earlier, we need to get God’s approval before we post things and desist from following those who post stuff that can corrupt us.
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33 (Communications here should be seen as in contemporary usage, not as in King James English.)We should use our smart phones and the Internet to glorify God and edify ourselves. Click To Tweet
I didn’t mean for this article to be preachy but I hope it’s been served and received with grace. Technology is very important and makes life easy. But our use of everything should be to the glory of God and our own edification (1 Corinthians 10:31, 23).
Thankfully, each of us has the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us navigate the world every day. With His aid, our smart phones and their apps will bring blessings and not evil into our lives in Jesus ‘ name.
The scriptures used in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible unless where otherwise stated.
Are there other lessons you picked from the video?
What other aspects of contemporary Christian living are you concerned about?
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society
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