As I browse through social media, I find a lot of amusing things to read and see. And friendly correspondences with a variety of people who I may or may not have much, if anything in common. I seriously tend toward easy humor postings, family, and affirming comments to those who have negative issues happening to them.
Yet along the way as I read what crosses my path, it can’t be ignored that many don’t just agree to disagree as the saying goes but engage in uncivil discourse. There is nothing wrong with posting your beliefs and comments in response to a public posting. But I must interject that calling people names and (falsely?) accusing others isn’t going to persuade mindsets.
We all have things or issues that we are passionate about, and usually have our minds made up about various things, topic-wise, that is. When someone posts or says something diametrically the opposite of what our value system holds dear to heart, what emotion comes to the surface? Being chagrined is one thing, boiling over in spontaneous anger and launching a verbal assault is another.
It appears that we are forgetting Eph 4:29 to not speak any unwholesome or profane talk. Disagreeing does not have to be mean-spirited. It doesn’t mean we forego the truth; it means leaving out the brutality in being brutally honest.
Some would say, “Pitching a hissy fit.” One glaring disclaimer, this isn’t about someone victimizing you or a loved one in a horrendous act of crime. That said, this is about simple opinions and beliefs expressed, and people’s responses to such.
Which reaction we have gives perhaps more than clues, but substantial information as to our spiritual, mental, and intellectual maturity. 1 Cor 13:5, any version, explains that love is not rude, selfish, revengeful and is not easily offended or angered. That should be a telescoping focus for our emotional response quotient. How easy are you offended? Do simple differing opinions send you into a tizzy? If so, you need to find your inner adult.
James 1:19 says that every person should be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. How much more civil discourse in social media, talk shows, politics, and editorials if we would practice this adage as the wise instruction it is. This isn’t about agreeing, but about understanding another’s position or viewpoint. Of course, in fairness, your thoughts should have equal time also.
In truth, there are those with nefarious and ill-intent agendas and hidden wicked determinations. But we should welcome everyone to speak what they think and believe so that the evil deeds of darkness can be exposed. (Eph 5:11) If we shout and shut down everyone who seems at odds with societal norms, how can we encourage, motivate, and convince them and others of our position?
I want to know who advocates violence, who are the nut jobs, who is at odds with my world view, who melts at the slightest difference of opinion, who wants to cancel culture and silence others, who is innocent or guilty of whatever, what is the science behind health concerns, and why does it seem that there are perpetually offended and angry people.
This is not to say that you can’t be offended! Or upset, mad, want justice, go to court, and we should be exposing corruption, lies, deceit, malice, and the like. There is a time for everything. God is not easily offended, and God is love. (1 John 4:8) God can be offended. That means that love can be offended. But again: Not easily.
God’s way is the best way for those inclined to honesty. God is not put back by tough questions. But how many have their minds made up about things contrary to what is his word. How many have offended God by their hate, lifestyle, rebellion, crimes, inhumanity to man, greed, unforgiveness and out and out animosity toward anything remotely Christian?
Yet, he remains patient and civil. God has given us his word that we can look to for debate, answers, and truth. Isaiah 1:18 KJ: “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”