Learning to respond in a godly manner with conviction.
From my observation here on TheNET we tend to make several mistakes that if avoided could go along way to preserving peace and edifying the body. It is easy to add “amen” to a post that you agree with, but how do you deal with a post that you don’t agree with?
What are some of the steps that we can take to respond in a godly manner with conviction? I am going to list some pointers from my perspective and encourage comments and further input to be added.
- We should not ever respond to a post we disagree with immediately (Note below for exceptions).
- We need to reread the post several times seeking the whole of its content and not focus in on one sentence or statement initially.
- We need to pray about the content of the post seeking discernment.
- We need to examine it in the light of Scripture.
- We need to pose questions to the author about their post, rather than assume and accuse.
- If, after time, rereading, prayer, Scriptural analysis, and posing questions we find the post in error, we need to address the issue(s) directly substantiating your position with Scripture.
- Never attack the character of the poster. (If you defend your position scripturally you do not have to digress to attacking the poster).
- If attacked, brush it off and stay on topic. Scripture will always win the battle, not your verbal assault or defense of self. You can defend Scripture and turn the other cheek at the same time.
- Be teachable. You might actually have this one wrong. If you do, accept it, acknowledge it and embrace the truth. None of us have it all perfectly right (If you do, stay away from me, I will corrupt you … little humor please :-)
- Lastly, not everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will see it the same way as you or me on every issue. There are a variety of views on numerous topics. You may be passionate about that particular topic and so will others who may see it differently. This does not mean we are not brothers, for it is at the cross we find our identity, not in the dogma of doctrines or preferences that are open to various interpretations. What are some examples? Mode of baptism, spiritual gifts, evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit, end time views, Calvinist or Armenian, denominations or not, the list goes on.
Having said the above I must say that there are times we will respond instantly and harshly. There are times wolves come here in sheep’s clothing. There are people who come here and attack the central doctrines of the Christian faith. They will be met swiftly and rebuked. A good (under)shepherd will protect the sheep from ravenous wolves and must.
One must ask oneself what their purpose is. Am I seeking to edify and help others grow while I am seeking to grow, or am I seeking to be right? Iron sharpens iron and in the process of those two pieces of iron sharpening each other there will be friction and heat, but in the end they benefit each other …. Think about that.
(These principles actually go beyond TheNET and apply to our daily lives and dealing with others who do not quite see eye-to-eye with us.)