We are family. I’m speaking of those of us in the Christian community. We are a family that is increasing in size every day. Just as in our individual families there is bound to be differences, schisms, and dissension, in our Christian family we also run into problems with family members from time to time.
In our natural families, when we have “issues” with one another we keep our issues private. No family wants their dirty laundry aired all over town. I’m sure there aren’t very many people who would disagree with this.
Remember that we are family and the world is watching and listening to us. The way we conduct family business should be kept private and out of the public eye if at all possible.
What grieves me is when my Christian brothers and sisters feel the need to ridicule, rebuke, and overtly “correct” one another in a forum where those who aren’t Christians can witness us taking care of family business.
I love the Christian people I’ve had the opportunity to meet online. We’ve all had the opportunity to share thoughts opinions and ideas with one another in a non-threatening environment where we all can grow and benefit from sharing God’s Word with one another.
And even though the forums and groups I frequent are Christian environments, all of them are public forums and all are visited by non-Christians. It’s like living in a transparent house in which everyone who walks by can see how your family interacts with one another.
Please don’t misunderstand me. No one knows everything. We all are growing and developing and sharing God’s Word with one another is a big part of what facilitates our growth and development.
But when we forget that the world is watching us and listening to every word we say (or type) and we begin to war against one another over scripture (or how we see a particular scripture or principle), it doesn’t speak too well for the God of love whom we claim to know.
I’m all for correction. Correction of a brother or sister who is in error is our responsibility. I guess it’s the way in which the correction is delivered is what I feel we need to be mindful of.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen and been the victim of some pretty angry, aggressive and confrontational brothers and sisters in public forums online. In my opinion, these attempts to correct were not delivered in love. It didn’t feel as though the attempted correction was given in the spirit of making me a better and more knowledgeable person.
Quite the contrary, the words were delivered in a harsh and hurtful manner. I can’t believe that words of this nature were inspired by God. They certainly didn’t edify, exhort or comfort.
If you read a post online or hear a message from a brother or sister that you feel is in error, take some time to pray about the subject matter. Just because you read something in a way that you’ve never read it before doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s wrong. Maybe God has something that He can teach you from the scripture, principle or situation you’re praying about.
If after spending some time in prayer you still feel that God is directing you to correct the person, do so in private if at all possible. If the content you’re concerned with is on a website or blog, most of them have a contact email address that you can contact the webmaster through.
If you truly want to share a word of correction with a brother or sister, do so in a spirit of love. In most instances, confronting the person in public is not going to make the person receptive to what you have to say.
Remember, we are family
Above all else, please remember that we are family and the world is watching and listening to us. The way we conduct family business should be kept private and out of the public eye if at all possible. By keeping family business private, we will eliminate one more obstacle to those who are contemplating joining our Christian family. Let all that you do be done in the spirit of gentleness and in doing so, the world will see the love we have one toward another.