There comes a time, for just about every relatively new Christian that I know of, who takes their new found faith and trust in God seriously, where a decision is made with regard to entering into a discussion on one of the multimedia apps such as FaceBook or Twitter, about something that they may see that is deeply offensive to them, as it relates to Christianity.
IS THIS A WISE MOVE FOR A RELATIVELY NEW CHRISTIAN OR SOMEONE WHO IS NOT WELL INFORMED ON THE ARGUMENTS FOR BOTH SIDES OF THE ISSUE? NOT SO MUCH.
Here are some scripture verses that should be located in the same vicinity as your computer where they are visible. Please note that I am talking about relatively new Christians or Christians who have not taken the time to become thoroughly conversant with the subject matter of which they are about to enter into.
It;s important to take to heart what these scriptures by the Apostle Paul and Jesus tell us, especially when we encounter a discussion that is offensive to us as Christians when on line.
“Avoid godless chatter” … note the word “avoid“.
“Having a form of godliness”. … note the words “have nothing to do with such people“.
“Foolish or stupid arguments” …. note they produce arguments.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred” … note “they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces”.
MY RECOMMENDED GENERAL RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
1. Entering into a discussion where you are questioning or inferring that what someone is doing is sinful, such as homosexuality as an example, requires a good working knowledge of the contentious Biblical issues from both sides of the argument. If you don’t possess a good working knowledge of the Biblical contentious issues, it would be prudent not to engage.
2. Social media apps such as FaceBook or Twitter, are seldom, if ever, a good platform whereby one can enter into a meaningful and lengthy discussion with someone who strongly opposes your perspective. This is especially relevant where the discussion you wish to enter into is focused on advocating the acceptability and continuance of the sinful actions. One doesn’t need to be a brain surgeon to surmise what is going to happen next. Consequently, if strong opposition to your opposing perspective is anticipated, it would be prudent not to engage.
3. When people become engaged in exchanging strong opposing perspectives, there is a strong humanistic tendency to quickly become emotionally upset or angered and unless one is experienced in maintaining a calm and polite demeanour in situations like this, it would be prudent not to engage. Losing your cool does little to promote the Biblical responsibilities associated with being an ambassador for Christ.
4. It shouldn’t come as a shock to you that not everyone is going to accept your interpretation of a particular scripture nor necessarily accept the credibility that you assign and hold of the scriptures themselves. This would necessitate that one not only be conversant with God’s word but also be conversant with opposing perspectives and be able to articulate them in a non-threatening manner. If you are not equipped to do this, it would be prudent not to engage.
5. I would also advocate that one considers their own credibility when witnessing on a particular biblical truth that is anticipated to be met with strong opposition on FaceBook or Twitter. Social media is indeed socially public and all your friends and acquaintances are going to be exposed to what happens next. Not only can this be embarrassing if things don’t go as anticipated but it can also demonstrate a lack of preparedness or a confrontational demeanour that is not balanced with speaking the truth in love. I can tell you from experience that impulse responses without prayer and due consideration can be a quick teacher in practical reality. Short story – think before you type and press the enter option.
6. There are free blogs available (WordPress, Tumblr etc) whereby one may craft a Christian orientated blog where people actively choose to follow you of their own volition. Not only does this ensure that your audience is more attuned to your perspective but it also provides you with a platform that is less likely to offend those who are not. One may also open a second free FaceBook account, tailoring one to a Christian audience and the other to casual social acquaintances. I have learned from experience that non-Christian friends who wish to remain connected with me on social media, do not always appreciate being swamped with Christian messages. Something to think about.
SUMMARY: As I indicated at the onset, this post is directed to relatively new Christians or Christians who have thought about voicing their opinions on a given subject but haven’t taken the time to become conversant with the particular biblical subject matter they want to comment on. Jesus told the Apostles to follow Him and He would make them fishers of men. Generally speaking, you don’t bring many live fish to the surface when you’re dropping hand grenades over the side of your boat. Considering your audience is important.
The lessons I have recommended have been learned the hard way, and no, it wasn’t fun. Just my thoughts, hope this helps someone.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!