There are some social media users for whom the cute little twitter bird logo would be more accurately represented as the cannon-like self-ejecting fowls from the Angry Birds game. Like those birds, they hurl themselves into any situation that they perceive to be threatening or to be being handled differently than they would—which, for such people, turns out to be many situations.
Actually, I am convinced that there are people who have conditioned themselves to need an issue to stir and a person to fight. Without an inside cause they are restless and frustrated and eventually find an issue to raise. And then they catapult themselves at this newly aroused object of their wrath with incessant tweets, angry status updates, and/or any other mode of instant mass communication.
The greatest problem with this approach to life is that “gendering strife” is in absolute contradiction to Scripture.
Paul warned Timothy, “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes” (2 Timothy 2:23). Frankly, I don’t think Paul’s reference to “foolish and unlearned questions” was limited to the simple examples we sometimes give. It may very well be applied to who went to whose conference. Or why a certain leader used a particular method. Or if… You get the idea.
Here’s the concern when spiritual leaders become “angry birds”: It’s no game when people stir controversy and contention. It’s sin.
An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.—Proverbs 29:22
People who have a perpetually angry spirit will find an issue to stir and in so doing will gender strife where there was none. The entire process (and its results) abounds in transgression.
When Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, he doubly beseeched two people at odds with one another to “be of the same mind in the Lord.”
I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.—Philippians 4:2
One of the best decisions I ever made regarding my relationships was to not have close friendships with perpetually angry people. Not only did I want to avoid the poisoning effect of their anger on my spirit, but also I didn’t want to become like them.
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.—Proverbs 22:24–25
I made this decision long before the advent of social media. But a few years back, I found myself needing to make a new application of that decision that reflects today’s social media landscape.
Not only do I not have close friendships with divisive, sarcastic, angry people, but I don’t follow them on Twitter either. It is unscriptural for me to read their sarcasm about others. This “re-decision” has turned out to be one of the most helpful commitments I’ve made in the past few years. It has saved me both stress and strife.
If you notice your social media streams being clogged or corroded by the loud, incessant voices of angry birds, I’d encourage you to clean out your stream. You don’t have to follow or friend angry birds. (If quietly unfollowing or unfriending isn’t an option, find a solution where you mute or hide their updates.)
If you sense that you may be an angry bird, could I implore you? Turn your ammo toward the enemy. We live in perilous days when truth is fallen in the streets. Yet even in this needy hour, too many of us rise up against one another rather than striving together in the defense of truth.
I’m not suggesting that there is never an issue between brothers worth dividing over. I believe in, preach, and teach both ecclesiastical and personal separation. What I am suggesting is that a person who is always stirring an issue or picking a fight with a brother or sister in Christ is not so much standing as a stalwart defender of the faith as he is hurling himself into issues that don’t matter.
You and I hold in our hands the very Word of God. We don’t need friendly fire; we need people who know how to use the sword of the Spirit against the enemy.
We need men and women of God who will “follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
We need leaders who will avoid “foolish and unlearned questions…knowing that they do gender strifes.”
We need godly servants of the Lord who will “not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves…” (2 Timothy 2:22–25).
In short, we need soldiers—not angry birds.