I was reading the blog of a popular, highly recommended author. I was stunned by her scathing attack on a Christian leader significantly older and more experienced than she was! Her blog was well written, but was used to criticize this renowned leader and expose his faults. When it comes to this particular leader, I am aware of his theological perspectives and some of them I disagree with. I am also aware of some of his own critique of people.
“When will this cyber bullying stop?” I thought. Why hide behind a screen if we have never met people face to face? Is this really a good use of time? I do not want to start my day reading negative blogs about other Christians. I think I am quite capable of making my own mind up about those people without the help of blogs! So what should our response be to Christians who we do not agree with?
First, in Matthew 18:15 Jesus told us to go directly to the person and speak to them. Some people could respond, “Well, they live too far away so how can I ever go and speak face to face?” Precisely! If we have never had a conversation with the person then why spend hours exposing all their faults on the basis of hearsay. Why be cowardly and hide behind a screen? Often when you challenge a person about what they have said the response is, “I didn’t mean that, you are taking what I said out of context.” A face to face conversation can often clarify your perspective and give you a whole new view on what the person was saying.
Second, We do need to teach truth and expose wrong teaching, but it is unnecessary to bully and tear other people apart. Of course, there are times we need to confront people, but the Bible says, "Speak the truth in love." If there is genuine Christian love in our hearts we will say things with grace and kindness. There are many different Christian traditions and there are points that we may never agree on. Let us look for what unites us rather than for what divides us.
Third, the Bible encourages us to guard our words. There are numerous Scriptures in James that warn about the destruction the tongue can cause. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up.” Sorry, but bullying other people is not my idea of building others up.
So, I encourage you to start your day in a positive way. The Bible says, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you O Lord." I want my silent words (my thoughts) and my spoken words to make God happy. He has made a beautiful world and He created people so that we could have relationships that would enhance our lives. We all have flaws, lets try to work on our own faults and focus less on others.
If we don’t have anything good to say about someone isn’t it better to keep quiet about the person? Sure, defend the truth! There are thousands of people who preach and teach principles I don’t entirely agree with, or partially agree with. I may challenge a teaching, but I am not going to use this space to bully or attack a member of the “body of Christ.” When I do that I am attacking the One who was nailed to the cross for the whole world. I love Him too much to do that!
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,