Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “… He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.” - Matthew 12:15-21 (NIV)
“Senator ripped apart…”
“Zuckerberg destroyed by Senator…”
“Trump torn to shreds…
Have you noticed this? How news headlines casually include over-the-top violent imagery? This kind of writing is hyperbole intended to agitate our already inflamed emotions and rub the already raw places in our spirits. This isn’t a right versus left thing. This imagery is everywhere.
After all, “Zuckerberg destroyed by Senator” is a lot juicier than “Social media executive fields question from US Senator that is more of a statement than a question, really.”
Headlines like this sell. People follow these links and follow where this kind of language leads, deeper into realms of division and violence against the vulnerable.
We as Christians follow someone very different. We follow Christ who healed without cost, who resisted renown, who taught in riddles so that those who heard him could work out for themselves the right way to go.
When you finish reading this devotional, you’ll head back out into the rest of the internet. There you’ll encounter every manner of screaming, all-caps, blood-and-guts imagery crying out for you to follow. Be mindful of where they lead, and remember Who you follow.
O Prince of Peace, may we follow you in every area of our lives.
John Edgerton is Lead Pastor at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois.