When a lawyer and expert of the law asked Jesus what the most important commandment is, Jesus responded, “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind…The second is to love your neighbor as yourself.”
All of Christianity comes down to how we love God and how everything we say and do – in our homes, at work, in church and even online – displays our love for God.
God’s love for us is immense and immeasurable. Unconditional. Gracious and full of mercies that are new every morning. The Bible tells us that nothing can separate us from His Love.
Today we are spending more and more time online.
How are we displaying our love for God and others on social media today?
At SGN we value opinions but not at the cost of defamation. We spend hours online filtering out defaming comments using a 3-step policy. 1) Is it a personal attack that defames others without evidence or facts that can be verified or substantiated? 2) Does it contain a swear word or vulgar language or demeaning connotations? 3) Does it politicise a sad event, social issue or national crisis? If Yes, to any of the above, Delete.
When the announcement of Samoa’s lockdown was made yesterday morning, it attracted many hate messages, mostly from fake pages criticising, pointing fingers, and politicising the situation to reignite the hate we saw during the depth of our 2021 political crisis.
Sadly another reported event that saw inappropriately disrespectful and uncultural hate messages was the recent reporting of Papa Stui’s hospitalisation. It seems nowadays that no matter what the issue is, trollers will use the opportunity to politicise the issue, point fingers and find someone to blame.
During Hon Tuilaepa’s reign as Prime Minister, every bad news article attracted trollers’ comments about how it was his fault. Even natural disasters were attributed to Papa Stui like he had somehow caused the unfortunate cyclone, earthquake or tsunami to happen. And yesterday the trollers came out again to play the blame game, except this time it was Prime Minister Hon Fiame who was criticised and attacked.
What is most interesting about the offensive language person’s social media page, is that you will often find Bible verses posted on their timeline or as a cover photo 🤗.
Yet, Jesus said that we must love God, and also love one other.
Paul says in 2 Corinth 13: 11
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
When the Prime Minister announced our nation wide lockdown, Hon Fiame called for Samoa to be united. “Government is asking for your cooperation and support, and that we continue to work together as a nation. Unity will facilitate meeting our objectives. With God’s guidance and benevolence, we will work our way through this challenging situation we are in.”
The greatest definition of LOVE is found in the Bible. We’re on lockdown so let’s take time to read thar popular verse in 1 Corinthians and remind ourselves what God says about love.
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[ but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues,they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
The Bible also tells us to pray for those who persecute us. Jesus had a way of lifting the bar on everything. See what he says here in Matthew 5:43-44
“You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
That may be easier said than done for some of us, but if you make it a standard automatic reaction to immediately pray for someone as soon as they say something mean to you, you’ll find that it develops into a habit that brings much peace to your soul and guards your heart.
Another common issue arising with the heightened use of social media, is that we are growing to hate people whom we do not know on a personal level at all. We’ve grown to dislike public figures by jumping on a bandwagon of a hate message someone else posted. Ask God for forgiveness or even reach out to thrm for forgiveness. If there is someone like that for you, God wants you to release them and pray for them.
So think of someone right now who has been mean to you, even if it’s a fake page, or someone you have been mean to. And then with a clean heart.. pray out loud..
God Bless (say their name). No, not while gritting your teeth lol… go back and say again.. this time you have to mean it 😊 God Bless (say the name of the person who did or said something mean to you, or you did or said something mean to).
What a beautiful opportunity we all have in Samoa while in lockdown with our loved ones, to spend time with God this Sunday, and show Him how much we love Him.
And then after prayer time, (because we all did lotu and spent time with God before we checked our notifications lol 😊) – when we enter the world of social media and cyberspace, we have the opportunity to show our love for one another ❤💙 and fulfill the second greatest commandment.
We proudly state as Samoans that our nation is founded on God. The Bible tells us that the atoning death of Jesus Christ makes us members of God’s royal priesthood.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9 ESV)
As members of His royal priesthood, God separates us from every defilement (2 Corinthians 7:1) and God calls us to care for one another.
Let’s not let Him down.
Heavenly Father, thank You for setting me apart to be Your child and for calling me to live a life that glorifies You. Draw near to me as I draw near to You. Bless me as I do my best to love and support others, in all that I say and do. And as your Word teaches us, bless our enemies and all those who have hurt us.
Bless our frontliners especially our healthcare workers who have worked tirelessly to protect our borders for the past two years. Bless each and every member of our NEOC and DMO.
Bless our Head of State and Council of Deputies. Bless our Church Leaders. Bless our Prime Minister Fiame and our Leaders in Government. Bless Tuilaepa and our Leaders in Opposition. Bless our CJ and all of the Judiciary. Bless our Speaker and Parliament.
Bless our Village Councils and Women’s Committees. Bless our Youth. Bless our Private Sector and NGOs.
Bless everyone at Tanumalala and Oloamanu. Bless everyone at Motootua National Hospital and District Hospitals across Samoa. Bless our 15 positive cases and return them to good health. Bless our neighboring Pacific Islands especially the Kingdom of Tonga and her people. Bless our brothers and sisters in American Samoa.
Bless every family in Samoa. Bless every Father. Bless every Mother. Bless every marriage. Bring peace to families of domestic violence. Bless our persons with disabilities. Bless our elderly. Bless anyone we have forgotten to pray for.
We praise Your good and precious name so that, together, we may be used by You to reach many others with the Good News of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.