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.
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?