My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. James 1:19 – 23, NIV
By Tami Heim
Every generation experiences debate and conflict when it comes to unpacking the intricacies of faith. As new Internet platforms emerge, believers garner easy access to delivery systems that give voice to their religious convictions and biblical interpretations. This generation’s public square is dynamic, emotional, and digitally documented for the whole world to observe, search, and reference.
The online network stream exposes all sorts of faith-based controversies. When you see them surface listen carefully, be slow to engage, and don’t get worked up or angry. Instead hold fast to the truth and then you won’t be overwhelmed by the tensions. It’s imperative you not let the beauty and simplicity of the Gospel be convoluted and lost in a vortex of theological argument.
Remain centered on the pure and holy intention of God’s vision,
and the charge of the great commission.
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, Paul confronts Peter and leads him back to the central truth of the Gospel. There’s much to study from Paul’s example and how it applies to any online contender and champion of the faith.
- How do you confront someone with integrity and respect?
- How do you do it in a manner that honors God?
1. Take personal inventory. Go deep and check your motives. Know what’s compelling you to publicly respond or react to what you’ve observed. Be certain this is God’s assignment for you. Make it your goal to help, not humiliate.
2. Evaluate the impact. Ensure the issue you are about to confront is relevant. Weigh its value. If it’s left unaddressed, would it impact the eternal outcome of another human being? Seek wisdom and discernment about the intended and unintended consequences.
3. Be specific. Isolate the point of contention. Try to be as direct and clear as possible. Clarity brings alignment and closure quickly.
4. Remember the golden rule. Think about how you would prefer someone to confront you. Remain calm and communicate concerns with respect. The right tone and proper intensity go a long way to help someone receive what you have to say.
5. Keep it real. Don’t heap unrealistic standards, expectations or legalism on others. Be factual, not judgemental.
6. Be creative. Offer solutions or conclusions that correct and lead to greater harmony. Take a stand and work towards a positive outcome.
7. Address the problem, not the person. Critique the problem and believe the best about the person.
8. Consider timing. Always pray first. Ask for the wisdom to know if an issue requires immediate attention or would be better handled at a later date.
9. Bring grace. Look in the mirror often and don’t forget what you’ve seen, where you’ve been, and whose you are by grace. Be ready to give freely what you’ve been given. Be prepared to give people the room they need to turn around.
10. Build bridges. Encourage and affirm what’s good as much as possible. Strive to replace conflict with a bridge of reconciliation. Be different-than-expected. Deliver the truth in love.
- Have you ever felt the urge to confront anyone online?
- What did you do?
- What was the outcome?
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Be straightforward about the truth of the Gospel. Love it. Live it. Defend it. #always #LiveSticky