Yesterday I got an email from my coworker about an approved law for our city which I feel abuses the authority of the municipality through excessive power which infringes on the Constitutional rights of the homeless who are all over the place downtown. So, as many of you would, I shared the article on Facebook with a challenge for the Church to make some sort of statement about this.
After posting, a good friend from my Church, an older man whom I respect, challenged my position with his own. Now at first I was ready to argue, because let’s face it, that’s kind of what Facebook has become, a series of interconnected soap boxes and if you feel strongly that you are right, you defend your position. But thankfully the Holy Spirit reminded me of HIS position regarding not only this new law, but also on the authority of my elders in the Church and in the community and my relationship with them as a man under their authority which is derived from God. What could have ended up as an argument with a friend ended up a civil discussion with a Christian brother where I could see that we agree for the most part, but disagree on some of the details, which as I feel compelled to mention: IS OKAY.
This got me thinking about some discussions I’ve seen on Facebook in recent months (and sadly to say, even some I’ve been a part of) where someone posts something that is heavy on their heart in an effort to bring an awareness to others. And then…
An argument ensues. Someone disagrees and responds (often times arrogantly) which prompts another response, and the next thing you know it’s an all out flame war with friends, family, and acquaintances.
Before I go any further, allow me to define a few terms for those of you who may not be in the know:
Flaming– Hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users. SOURCE: Wikipedia
Trolling- To sow discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (i.e. forum, chat, blog, social media) SOURCE: Wikipedia
This trend of flaming others is troubling to me. Not because people have strong convictions and opinions, but because they often times come out in a way that is very unloving so as to win arguments.
It seems like we’ve lost the ability to discuss, learn, and grow from one another.
This kind of “gotta win” attitude I’ve been seeing from my brothers and sisters is not appropriate. Paul, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, wrote to the Church in Ephesus, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29 NASB). Take note of that last part:
…so that it will give grace to those who hear.
There is a way to lovingly disagree and harbor a discussion with someone without belittling them so that you can be victorious and glorify your name with “Likes”. I would suggest emailing them, or messaging them, or calling them, and if you have the opportunity, talk with them in person (I know… that’s crazy… but try it).
“Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” -1 Peter 2:16-17