A Problematic Pattern Among Christians: The Lost Art of Engaging Those With Whom We Disagree

A pattern is developing and blooming on social media. This pattern causes fractures among friends, family, and even followers of Christ. The pattern is this:

  1. Some does or says something (either to us or something we observe from someone else) as we go about our day.
  2. We post our feelings regarding this person and their behavior on our social media page.
  3. Others comment to either verify that they’ve seen this behavior in others, or push back as they believe we are being judgmental.

If you’re a celebrity, the pattern has us engaging us on our public social media page or us going on a talk show or news show to berate the words or behavior of another celebrity. Then people react in either agreement or disagreement, from delight to rage.

This pattern is so prevalent that we never question its practice–a practice that is nearly universal.

  1. Our words are intended to build up rather than tear down. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29)
  2. Insulting someone is an anger-seed planted in your heart that can lead to other issues.“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire: (Matthew 5:21-22). 
  3. This pattern will affect your worship. “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
  4. You are not demonstrating love of neighbor. ““You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45a).
  5. You are putting an obstacle to the gospel. If we put all of these points together, we will see that our words will not be “seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6) that is the gospel. That will affect our worship of God and our love of neighbor (that is, the Great Commandment). Rather than love planted in our heart, hatred is planted in our hearts and, by posting our gripes and grievances, plants hatred and bitterness in the hearts of others as well.

The gospel needs to be contagious, not our bitterness. If we have an issue, let’s talk about that someone to that someone in a private conversation first, even if they are celebrities that seem inaccessible. We need to show everyone what Christianity and the love of Christ is about.

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