Let’s Stop Stirring the Pot

Imagine with me for a moment. You have an unbelieving friend, Johnny. Johnny is a known atheist who in his spare time enjoys mocking the Christian faith. One day, Johnny posts a status on Facebook that is clearly a cry for attention. He posts: “God is just as much real as the tooth fairy. You might as well believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

You’ve been friends with Johnny since junior high, so you know his personality like nobody else. You know this guy is just bored. In short, you know you probably shouldn’t give it the time of day. But the apologetics-loving part of you couldn’t resist. You reply—the rest is history. After an hours-long debate over the existence of God, you finally give up after realizing that Johnny’s goal has been accomplished: he got you to take the bait and you wound up looking like a fool on Facebook. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly possible to have a respectful conversation with a skeptic on social media that is fruitful, but that is rare.)

This happened all because you thought you had to respond to his post. Christian, please hear me: you don’t have to respond. Just keep scrolling. You don’t have to give it the time of day, definitely when you know the person loves to stir the pot and it brings out your bad side. What’s worse than giving into temptation to respond to somebody stirring the pot? Being the one who is stirring.

Have you ever written a post on Facebook or tweeted something you knew was going to be controversial? I think the answer is assuredly yes. The answer might be yes for all of us. The better question to ask, though, is do we ever check our hearts before we post or tweet it? Do we examine our motives? Are we posting to plant our feet in the ground of the gospel or are we trying to cause a stir?

It’s easy to joke about stirring the pot, but let’s face it: stirring the pot is not a fruit of the Spirit. Stirring the theological pot also stirs up division and strife. And we don’t want to be people who cause strife, do we (Proverbs 20:3)? The Bible certainly doesn’t paint a pretty picture. 

But let me rewind a second, here. When I say, “stirring the pot,” I don’t mean not posting something that is going to turn some heads. I have posted many things that will cause believers and unbelievers alike to get angry and comment. That’s not wrong. Honestly, it comes down to knowing your own heart. Knowing something you post is going to cause many negative reactions isn’t bad. It is only sinful if you are posting it to simply stir the pot or get into heated debates. You shouldn’t want to debate people on social media. You shouldn’t want to post something merely to cause controversy. 

Why should you not want to debate people on social media? Because it can reveal that you’re a quarrelsome person.[1] Nobody wants to be a quarrelsome person. However, there are some people that take pleasure in getting into quarrels. It fuels them. They want nothing more than to either jump into an argument or create one. 

This shouldn’t be the characteristic of a Christian. Christians aren’t supposed to be divisive; we shouldn’t create controversy. Division and strife will happen from time to time, but we neither want to be in the thick of it nor create it. Stirring the pot may sound funny but, in reality, it only shows immaturity.

This is an old blog reposted.

This is an excerpt from my book Gospel Smugness: Displaying Christlike Character in Evangelism.

[1] DeYoung, Kevin. (2019, June 13). Distinguishing Marks of a Quarrelsome Person. Retrieved from https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/distinguishing-marks-quarrelsome-person/

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