Post by Pastor Tim – Twenty years ago I was sitting in my Bible college dorm room with a cassette recorder, chuckling along with five of my classmates. We were laughing because someone had recorded one of our professors and spliced his phrases together to make him sound like a heretic.
In the privacy of our room it was truly funny, but we also realized how potentially dangerous something like this could be. After enjoying it for a few minutes, we decided that we shouldn’t do anything like this again and we destroyed the tape.
I thought it was dangerous, not because I worried what would happen to me, but I worried what would happen to my professor. What was meant to be a joke could easily end up being construed as a heretical Bible teacher that was leading impressionable young minds at a once respectable Bible college. Can’t you imagine the comments if something like this were to get out on social media today?
I’ve supported this Bible College for 12 years, but no longer in good conscience can I be a part of something so anti-biblical! ~ Sally G.
If this teacher is a heretic, than so is the whole student body and staff. Guilt by association. ~ Tom S.
You know what the Bible says, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.” Enough said! ~ David W.
And if this happened in 2015, you can be assured that the technical quality of spliced audio would be much better than when I did it in 1995.
A few weeks ago I finished reading Resolving Everyday Conflict by Ken Sande, and I was reminded of the wonderful principles that God has laid out in regards to resolving conflict. Ken lays out four questions to ask in every conflict that are solidly grounded in Scripture. He says,
- How can I focus on God in this situation? (Glorify God)
- How can I own my part of this conflict? (Get the log out of your eye)
- How can I help others own their contribution to this conflict? (Gently restore)
- How can I give forgiveness and help reach a reasonable solution? (Go and be reconciled) (pg. 43)
While we may or may not be practicing this in our families and churches, I am troubled by our lack of this practice in the online community – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even TV and radio!
Reading the comments of Christians on everything from Christian issues to secular issues often grieves my heart! I admit that a good deal of the blame should be directed at news organizations and blog sites (even Christian ones) who print articles with spurious headlines . . . or even those who re-print articles from other sources when they haven’t confirmed the details.
Regardless of the blame that can be directed towards the news itself, the bottom-line is that you and I must take responsibility for applying Biblical rules of conflict resolution in our own online interactions. We must refuse the desire to negatively comment without knowing the situation and without first speaking to those involved. And we must also allow for the fact that people, preachers and organizations make mistakes . . . just like I do.
Imagine that you were one of those people who commented about my professor and Bible college without knowing the truth!
And as I wrote about last year, even when we are 100% right in our social media interactions, our comments still have a tendency to be taken the wrong way.
That’s not to say that it’s never right to comment or even to challenge someone in this venue – it certainly is! Only that the Biblical practice of doing good to your enemies and to the household of faith must be seasoned with grace, humility, a willingness to overlook one another’s faults, forgiveness and a commitment to engage in Biblical conflict resolution . . . even in our online interactions!
Very good points!! I deleted my Facebook profile a few years ago, and I don’t comment on controversial topics on the internet. I prefer having private conversations face-to-face, via phone, or via email. When you don’t know who your audience is or the intention of their heart, things can really go awry. I take the policy of reading articles, praying over them, and finding ways to connect in a positive way with people and with the culture from what I have learned and observed.
Thanks Jody! I appreciate the process and hard-work that you undertake to handle these things in a Biblical manner!