Response to Social Media Outrage over Matt Chandler

Matt Chandler courtesy of USAToday

We need to have a talk. Yesterday, I watched a video from “Whaddo You Mean?” It is a Christian YouTube channel that discusses issues in our culture and seek to provide a Christian worldview. I’ve listened to Jon and he’s demonstrated some good insights. Yesterday, he shared the shocking story of a pastor named Matt Chandler. Why is it shocking? It is shocking for a couple of reasons and I’ll be focusing one part.

Apparently, Village Church and their lead pastor, Matt Chandler believe in the idea of accountability. Matt even went so far as to explain the situation to his church audience. Though I’ve never heard of this gentleman, it seems that Matt is a popular megachurch pastor and his sermons are readily found on YouTube. I, also learned that Village Church is a part of the Acts 29 church movement. You can find out more by clicking on the provided link.

As for the so-called contraversy surrounding Matt Chandler, I’ll let Jon fill you in on the details. Jon does provide a video where Matt is telling his church of what’s happening. I definitely commend Jon for how he handles this story. Sadly, I can’t say the same thing for the ones screaming and hollering on social media and in his comment section.

For me, my heart was grieved for Matt, his family and the ones actually involved in this “inappropriate” action. Like Jon, I can only react to what I saw in the shared video. Yet, I was dismayed and angered by the antics seen in the comment section. As it happens, Jon shared an updated video, I’d say that I’m not the only one. ūüė¶

Let’s start with a firm warning from Scripture concerning the idea of gloating over the misfortunes of other people. It’s from the shortest book in the Old Testament, Obadiah.

12 “Do not gloat over your brother’s day,
The day of his misfortune.
And do not rejoice over the sons of Judah
In the day of their destruction;
Yes, do not boast
In the day of their distress.

Obadiah NASB ’95

I do not have any desire to follow Matt and I’ll likely forget about this pastor. Yet, I felt a need to pray for a guy who I’ll forget about in a week or so. What about you? Did you listen to Jon’s video? Did you hear Jon’s point at the end of his video? Though Jon didn’t mention it, Paul’s warning in Galatians 6:1 came to mind and we do need to take care of how we walk. Here’s Galatians 6:1

6 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Galatians 6:1 NASB ’95

Why did Paul say such a thing? It’s because the same thing could happen to you and me. I do not know about you, but I’d rather have what Paul says than the hideous remarks found on Twitter. I have to commend the friend who confronted Matt. It seems the friend spoke to Matt in a spirit of gentleness and it allows Matt to repent. Do you think he’d have responded so well to the vitriols found on the Internet? I don’t think so.

I understand that the algorithm on Twitter and Facebook feeds on outrage. As for YouTube, I did not know about this story until I saw Jon’s video, yesterday. Why? YouTube caters to what the algorithm thinks I’ll be interested in and who’s video I watched. The problem is in creating an echo chamber of people saying the things I want to hear. This is not a good idea!

As for outrage related channels, I’ve watched some such videos but I don’t follow them. It’s probably why I’ve not seen anything on my own Twitter timeline. I try to not follow people who love to incite outrage and quarrels. For me, such tactics works to only produce anger and nothing seems to get done. No thanks.

Someone is likely to bring up an observation that is tangentially related to this article. It has to do with clickbait style headlines in blog posts, news headlines and YouTube videos. Yes, I’m looking at myself. Before I share my thoughts and experiences on that topic, I’d like to share two Scriptures.

7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

Here’s what Paul says in Romans 6:6-7:

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Romans 6:6-7

Do you know why I mentioned these two Scriptures before talking about the use of clickbait? It is because clickbait style titles, and tweets are designed to provoke a strong emotional reaction and a desire to get your attention. Did you know that not all clickbait is bad. These bad clickbait plays on a person’s fear or their carnal nature. If you trusted Jesus for your salvation and believe that Jesus has risen from the dead and he’s seated at the right hand of the Father then I’ve good news.

You’re no longer a slave to your sinful nature. You don’t have to listen to its desires. You belong to Christ Jesus and are clothed with the righteousness of Jesus. It’s a free gift. You’re free to listen and obey what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. Of course, you are free to listen to people who use clickbait titles designed to promote anger and outrage. However, you do have a choice and can listen to good clickbait.

Yes, my dear child. There is such a thing as good clickbait. Why do content creators have to use clickbait? It’s because you will not click on a boring title or thumbnail. For this reason, I try to create titles that provoke curiosity and possibly answer a question or provide a challenge in a good sense. At the same time, I try to deliver on the promise of the bait.

Because you and I are given a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind; we have the ability to step back and ask the Holy Spirit about this situation. Because of what God has done, we can make sober decisions about what we read or watch. Yes, our emotions is still a factor; however, it doesn’t have to dominate our thinking and that’s what the bad clickbait play on.

A sober mindset governed by the Word of God and guided by the Holy Spirit is capable of seeing the bait and ask questions about the thumbnails and titles. I’ve done just this when looking through thumbnails of YouTube channels that I follow. I’ll see the bait and ask “Ok Dan. What are you up to?” Dan is an executive producer at VidIQ. The thumbnail is typically directed at something that I’m interested in.

It’s not deception because he and his friends will often deliver on the promise made with the thumbnail and title. With a renewed mind, it is possible to exercise a sound mind and self-control. You do not have to be slaves to your impulses. With God’s help, it is quite possible. If you’re struggling, I’d like to encourage you to seek Jesus and ask for help.

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