Our first cold snap recently moved through West Texas, so I went to the store to grab marsh-mellows, chocolate powder and milk to prepare hot chocolate for my students. As I strolled toward the entry, I noticed a young woman grappling with a large box while attempting to keep her shopping cart from rolling away. Hurrying over, I volunteered my assistance to which she accepted. She transferred the box to me, and I began to lay it next to the similar box in the back seat of her car. She stopped me and apologized, saying that she was actually unloading the boxes into the shopping cart. We both laughed a bit, and I placed both the current box and then the box from inside her car within the shopping cart. Mission accomplished.

Pondering on this interaction later, I considered how funny we are as humans: that we are quick to make assumptions. It makes sense, they say the most straightforward answer is usually the correct one: boxes go from shopping cart to car. However, in this case, my assumption was mistaken. I thought I was helping when in reality I was doing the opposite.

I see a similar trend developing online, namely social media. No other people group in history has been gifted the accessibility, nay privilege, to be heard—to have a platform in some way—as we have and how do we employ it? We blast our (subjective) political rhetoric. We assume two things: that our opinion matters and that we’re helping. In the name of “enlightenment,” we allow the enemy to manipulate us, becoming pawns in his attempt to thwart God’s will.

As LeVar Burton would say, “Don’t take my word for it.” When the Pharisees criticized Jesus’ followers for not washing their hands before dinner, Jesus rightly diagnosed their hygienic requirements as a heart issue. Think of it as an early game of cooties. You see the Pharisees devoted themselves to a twisted version of the Mosaic law, requiring them to complete ceremonial washings following contact with anything deemed unclean or defiled. They were the physical manifestation of Purell, and everybody else was infected with cooties. So Jesus declared them hypocrites for their us-versus-them mentality. Their misplaced devotion blinded them to the intention of the written law and Jesus’ mission—through the cross—to unite every nation, tribes, peoples and tongues (Revelation 7:9).

Don’t miss this: God invited us to be a part of the plan to reconcile Himself to creation (2 Corinthians 5:18). As a matter of fact, Jesus even prayed on our behalf, yes on our behalf that we would be one, just as He and the Father are one. Why? Because as we “become perfectly one,” the world will be pointed to the One who saves (John 17:21; 23). The early church lived this, and the “Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Unity is a big deal because eternity is at stake.

Francis Chan says, “There is no greater honor on earth than to be a part of God’s Church”—to be a unified body of believers on this mission. [1]

Yet too often we choose to squander the aforementioned honor by elevating our political affiliation above our Heavenly citizenship (Philippians 2:19), choosing the role of activist over ambassador (2 Corinthians 20). 

This makes me think of a highly educated man, whom I admire and respect greatly, who consistently shares politically-biased rhetoric that insults and creates division. He is a distinguished leader with the kind of wisdom that can only be obtained through experience, yet he neglects his own wealth of valuable insight, trading the opportunity to positively enlighten others for flawed devotion. Unintentionally, but none-the-less damaging, he promotes an us-versus-them mentality. Sound familiar?

To be clear, I am not advocating censorship, nor naive to the fact that many found Jesus’s message offensive and walked away—many still do. And Christian leaders should engage in the political realm appropriately.

However, if we are more known for our political ideology than our theology, we’ve become dangerously close to working against God’s plan.

Yes. Anytime we create division (beyond the message of the cross) we are, read this slowly: Working. Against. God. 

Preferably, Paul, while imprisoned for his faith, urges the churches in Ephesus to live counter-culturally, in a manner worthy of their call to defend unity by exercising humility, gentleness, patience—blessed are the peacemakers (Ephesians 4:1-3 and Matthew 5:9 respectively).

You say, but I have to share those posts, to expose the evil thereby protecting the union. I get it, but your call is more significant than preserving the union. It’s preserving the unity established by Christ—being obedient to the One who washed even His betrayer’s feet (John 13:11).

Imagine a world in which rhetoric is substituted with serving, and leaders followed the example of Christ, contemplating ways “to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). Where our needs to be heard are displaced by the One who cannot be ignored. 

A world with leaders conscious that when they communicate, as Craig Groeschel states, understand “[they] are never just talking. [They] are always leading.” 

A world when others go low, leaders choose to go high, becoming influencers that attempt to achieve the discernment hidden deep within the philosophical and theological aphorism: does it help or does it hurt? 

RELATED: Why Unity is Essential – and 4 Tips on How to Create It

As Dale Carnegie would say in the Upside Down (Stranger Things), unless you wish to lose friends and limit your influence with people, don’t assume the box goes in the car. Practice discernment not assumptions concerning your posts. 

Dr. John Maxwell says, “Leadership has less to do with position than it does disposition,” which means if we’re going to take our call seriously: to make disciples, we must accept that others will first have to buy into who we are as people—and it’s tough to follow people we don’t like. [2] 

Remember, your life was bought at a high price, and God calls you His masterpiece, created anew in Christ, to do good things planned long ago (Ephesians 2:10). And you are alive and responsible for this particular slice of history, so steward this well. Never forget what you post matters. So I implore you to remember: we are all making disciples in some form or fashion (whether for Christ or for the world). 

Be a leader that is acutely aware of this and live a life worth replicating by embracing unity over division, joining with other believers, becoming one body and one Church, which there is no greater honor to live for—or post about for that matter.

C.J. Wetzler is the student pastor at The Message Church in Lubbock, Texas. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. He loves to mentor the next generation of leaders and considers himself a fast food connoisseur. For questions or comments, connect with him on social media: @thecjwetzler.