I had an email exchange earlier today with a fellow Christian minister that was eye opening to say the least. I had invited him to participate in an online discussion and he declined the offer based on past negative experiences. I can’t say that I blame him. Many of us have tried dialoging with other Christians online and had similar experiences. You come to a discussion to have an open and honest dialog about a topic or a text and before you know it people are smashing you, bashing you and calling you names. You reply in love and try your best to not buy in to such crummy tactics (although maybe in our worst moments we have done some of those things…hopefully not!) but it doesn’t seem to matter. The other Christians on the message board or facebook, or blog don’t seem to care. They want to defeat you and whatever error they feel you are trying to spread like plague to weak minded people in the church. They proceed to berate you with proof text after proof text until they are convinced they have beat you into submission. They don’t listen to logic. They won’t hear of context. It wouldn’t be right of them to actually wonder if they might be wrong about something or if there is actually another way to look at it.
I don’t know about you but just thinking about those kinds of discussions makes me tired. It also makes me sad. It makes me sad that somehow Christians think they can talk to each other like that. It makes me sad that some people think they “win” if they talk over everyone else, don’t address each other’s questions and concerns and just plain and simple won’t listen to anyone except their own voice. It pains me even more when they won’t listen to the scriptures…especially the ones that might actually seem to contradict the point they are trying to make.
Let us make the decision up front that it is not worth “winning” an argument if it takes disrespecting the other party involved.
Let us remind ourselves that we are dealing with God’s children and that we have to be united and treat each other with love.
Last, let us remember that the world is reading these careless and hurtful words. No wonder many are turned off from Christ because some of his followers taste more like vinegar than they taste like salt.