The Worst Facebook Fights I’ve Ever Seen

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. (Prov. 18:2)

If you’ve been a member of Facebook for any length of time, chances are at some point you’ve been involved in a Facebook fight. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. You post a status or comment and someone disagrees. You attempt to clarify your position, they offer a rebuttal and before you know it you are immersed in an argument you never intended and wondering how to get out. Sometimes these arguments can be civil but often they quickly turn hostile due in part to the boldness that social networking seems to elicit.
I hate to admit that I have been involved in a few of these fights. I have witnessed many more. And I am ashamed to say that the very worst, most insulting, offensive arguments I have ever read on Facebook are when the people involved claim to be Christians.

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Christians seem to be among the least likely people to “agree to disagree.” We are dealing with our firm beliefs and are unwilling to allow a grey area when our beliefs clash with others. Sometimes Bible verses are used as weapons, flung at other Christians to prove a point only to have verses flung back. Many times I have also seen Christians fling Bible verses at non-Christians to prove a point and this I have never understood. If someone doesn’t believe in the Bible, spouting verses at them is not a great way to prove a point. Worse, I would argue that it is a misuse of biblical truth. The Bible is being used as a weapon to disarm an opponent. If you think that you are going to “make disciples” of people this way you should know that rarely do people convert to another belief system because they were attacked with it.

 

All of these Facebook arguments have led me to believe that Christians have developed a bad habit of defending God instead of representing Him. And that one reason we do this is out of fear. Fear that we will be attacked by others, fear that our rights will be overlooked or disregarded in our society, fear that we will not spread the gospel as we are commanded to do and thus fail at the one thing that matters most to us as believers.

 

We need to let go of our instinct to argue with others over their interpretation of biblical truth. It’s time to make an effort to respect and honour other people more than we value our need to be right. If proving your point is going to hurt or insult someone else why insist on doing it? Don’t be a clanging cymbal (1 Cor. 13:1).

 

As Christians we know that we will have trouble in this world (John 16:33). If people don’t like us because we appear weak or vulnerable or naive in our beliefs that is okay. But if people don’t like us because we appear condescending or argumentative or rude or arrogant that is most definitely NOT okay.

 

I would like to see more Christians give up the habit of defensiveness. We would do better to focus our efforts on being encouraging and kind instead.

 

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Rom. 14:19)

 

EDIT: It has come to my attention that it might seem I am referring to ALL Christians in this post. This was by no means my intent. There are many, many instances I have seen where Christians have been thoughtful and loving in comments on Facebook and elsewhere in social media. My post was meant to highlight the behaviour of a few and to encourage respect and politeness online.

 

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT ARGUMENTS SEEM TO ESCALATE MORE ON FACEBOOK THAN IN REAL LIFE? HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN FACEBOOK FIGHTS?

5 comments

  1. Brenda S says:

    Thank you for this well-worded and discerning post, Andrea! A few years ago, I actually ended up creating a “disclaimer” for my FB wall, stating that “fighting” isn’t tolerated there. I chose to make it a wall of encouragement, fun, memories, sharing, etc., but not fighting. If it ever comes up, I just refer the individual to the disclaimer! Great post!

  2. April Janzen says:

    I generally don’t comment on controversial issues on FB for this very reason…that it can quickly escalate into conflict. However, I recently engaged in a conversation on FB regarding same sex marriage and the church. I take a conservative and Biblical view on this issue. I was able to engage in very polite and respectful dialogue with the other participants because I prayed, wrote my post out, reread it more than once and had my husband read it before I posted it. I posted twice and both times went through this process. If one is going to post on FB on a controversial issue it needs to be done in similar manner to make sure you are over the top in being polite to overcompensate for the lack of body language, eye contact and tone of voice.

    Whether we like it or not, social media is the way that society communicates now and on important issues that one believes in I think we need to engage with this platform. It seems to be a necessary evil of today. Social media is the new advocacy, the new educator, the new debate forum whether we like it or not.

    I do need to take issue with your comment that you see Christians as often being the greatest offenders. I wonder if you feel this way because you are very sensitive to how people who are not Christians might react to a post? Sometimes our own insecurities can skew how we perceive things. You have a heart to reach out to people who don’t have a relationship with Christ and that is so good! I just wonder if you think that being critical of Christians will help your witness with non-Christians? If so, I would challenge this because the Bible says “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:35. Now certainly, we need to address rude Christians when they are rude but let’s not be too hard on our brothers and sisters in Christ by painting them all with one brush. I have seen MANY godly Christians comment in a loving manner on FB. In fact, I would say more than not have done so in this way and when they haven’t it’s been a truly innocent mistake. I don’t disagree that many Christians have been inexcusably rude on social media, but I don’t think it’s any worse than what non-Christians do. In fact, with regard to the same sex marriage discussions I have been involved in, I have seen conservative Christians behave in a much more respectable manner than non-Christians or very liberal Christians. For example, in one of the discussions thread I engaged in, the Christian who started the post was extremely respectful and and gentle yet she was absolutely torn apart by the liberal contingent. I think that the liberal left is just as, if not more intolerant than the conservative right from my experience.

    • bumblebirdblog@yahoo.ca says:

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments! I am so grateful that you have provided me with an opportunity to clarify the comments I made in this post. It’s true that I have seen some very bad behaviour from Christians on Facebook. But I have also seen many, many well-thought out, loving discussions involving Christians as well. I have witnessed such grace offered by Christians while dealing with difficult topics and events, not just on Facebook but in blog posts and other social media outlets. And the most supportive group of women I have ever known I have yet to meet in real life…we are only in contact on Facebook. Your comments have made me aware that I need to take care in future posts to qualify my statements. I in no way meant to offend anyone, only to call attention to Christians to be aware that even though we are not face to face with others on social media, that our high standard of moral conduct still applies.

  3. Beth says:

    I read this when you posted it and didn’t get to comment right away….and just now came across this scripture that reminded me of this post – “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:14-15) It’s easy to get worked up when reading other’s views on certain issues, and it can be hard to restrain ourselves! I know I’ve slipped up before and gotten snippy with someone on a sensitive topic aired on FB….and immediately regretted it. Since then, I’ve kept my mouth shut (or fingers still…?) because I don’t want to drive a wedge between myself and whoever it is….but sometimes I think a little prayerful response can be called for. And maybe a private message or a face to face talk is needed instead of inviting the FB world to join in and add fuel to the fire!

    • bumblebirdblog@yahoo.ca says:

      Absolutely! I am not saying we should never reply (or speak up for ourselves) but that we should carefully consider what we are saying and the motivation with which we are saying it. Is it being done in a loving manner? Many times to post something semi-publicly on facebook is not a loving course of action. I believe that there are many conversations that should be held privately between two people (face-to-face if possible) instead of on social media, most specifically sensitive and divisive issues. Also, thanks for the Galatians verse..very applicable here! Thanks for the comment 🙂

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