I affirm your decision to delete anonymous, rude comments. Just please don’t stop writing. I don’t comment often, but I’ve been reading your blog for at least twelve years. I love your heart and your wisdom.
Finding Justice, Grace, and a Civil Blog Community
I’ve been following the revival meetings that started in Huntington Beach last month. We who have tried to make Jesus Lord want to see others embrace him. Presumably most of us also want people to stay healthy.
Our country and much of the world is struggling with the virus. So, it seems to many that these two desires are in opposition.
There were a number of comments on this post and I deleted two (plus a third comment on this post) that I found to be rude. Given the timing and nature, I incorrectly assumed they were all the same person. In 15 years of writing this blog, I have let the comments fly. At times people have been rude and I have just let it go.
I owe you this
So I figured that, if most of my readers are trying to get closer to Jesus, I owe it to you to take this issue head-on. How do we have a digital conversation with grace?
We next see him offending his listeners, who respond rather extremely by trying to kill him. And finally, we see him casting out demons – fighting the evil that had taken up residence in people.
With a debut like that, you’d think that Jesus is just a contentious person. But then as he articulates his program to his followers (we call it the sermon on the mount), you see that the code of behavior he prescribes is very different.
“You are blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution….Count yourselves blessed every time people put you down,” he says.
How should we respond? “When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer….Live generously and graciously toward others.” Jesus is calling us to civility.
How do we walk it out?
So my question is, how are we Christ-followers doing at that? And how should we walk it out on this blog?
I want to be a part of a community that both sharpens and encourages. I’m hoping some of you do too. When I started writing it in 2005, my hope was that this blog could help.
I personally need other perspectives. Often it’s those who disagree with me who help me to see the things I’m missing. And honestly, sometimes comments will ruffle my feathers. I will want to debate a point, even if I know that debating will be counterproductive. I need others help me find the balance.
My objective with this blog is to spur people on toward love and good deeds. So when I write, whether it’s a blog post or a comment on Facebook, I try to examine my words to see if they’ll accomplish that. If they don’t, I scrap it and start over.
Seth – well spoken. Civil and respectful conversation is needed so much in our culture. As followers of Christ we should lead the way in thoughtful, grace-filled speech. So important that we listen and consider those with differing views not just trying to win arguments with the loudest or most threatening dialogue and actions.
I think media outlets like the Washington post give a false impression of the absence of bias. Their motive is profit not truth. Censorship from them amounts to propaganda. In contrast we Christians we are admittedly biased. Your deletion of posts was completely valid on biblical grounds.
While my own attitude towards those who want to shut me up and shut me down via ad hominem attacks tends toward that of Paul in Lystra in Acts 14, I realize I am an anomaly. The reality is that the poor spirited person with the perspective that could bring correction to all might be shut down.
We all need to remember that ideas are not identities even though the current deconstructing Critical Theory based culture says otherwise. Mixing two world views will always lead to confusion and confusion to conflict. It seems clear to me that Mat 10:5-39 is the operative paradigm in the coming days.
All that being said, Titus 3:1-11 might be a good template for regulating posts. Keep the dialogue going. Love ya brother.
Thanks, Brian. I read Titus 3 – so good!
A few thoughts:
Mt. 10:24-25 = Disagreements are to be anticipated.
Pro. 27:6 = Wounds caused by a friend can be faithful.
Mt. 12:34-35 = Key is the direction of the heart.
I applaud you using discretion with the intent to foster exchanges that speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15)
You’re kind, Jean. Thanks for the encouragement.
Your commitment to continue in grace even when you are attacked straight out of the blocks is exemplary. Thank you.
We live in such a contentious online world where somehow people feel the lack of a face-to-face conversational connection allows them to throw civil discourse to the wind. I appreciate your ‘taking it on the chin’ attitude even when it’s a smear effort and a reflection of the immaturity of the responder.
Obviously for those who don’t know Christ, I don’t expect restraint or the checking of one’s intentions/meanings before attacking. But for those who follow Jesus, it seems like ‘the tongue needs to be tamed’ so that it can unleash blessing rather than cursing. It’s not that there can’t be disagreement and an effort for change (change is needed), but sadly the Biblical way to do it seems in our present times to be cast to the wind.
I appreciate you taking the high road. This is discipleship in action, whether it’s recognized by some of the dissenters or not.
2 Timothy 2:23,24 But reject foolish and ignorant speculation, for you know that it breeds quarreling. And a servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome, but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, and forbearing.
Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness–without it no one will see the Lord.
Great passages, Melinda. Jesus sure does things differently than we do! I’ve still got such a long way to go.
Seth – Keep “sharpening and encouraging”. I for one, benefit greatly.
Our youth are growing up and forming in these times where opinions are presented as “news” and “fact” and personal attacks on those who think differently are common place and encouraged by many. If we boomers don’t walk our Christian talk, the results could be devastating. Delete the personal attacks, encourage civil discourse, and leave up any post in honest pursuit of truth and understanding. We all have more to learn.