I think that far too many times we allow our love for the truth to manifest itself in criticizing, judging and beating down each other with our interpretation of the Word of God. However noble this appears to us at the time, it rarely (if ever) accomplishes the desired result because for the most part it is not God's preferred way of dealing with the situation.
I believe this statement is true and we have all been guilty of it at one time or another. You rarely change someone's mind about something however, if you are clubbing them with a stick. Generally it has the opposite effect and not only do they become more adamant about their own belief, they understandably become more negative and even hostile towards you. Is this the sort of relationship God desires us to have with one another?
Often when this topic is brought up, someone is quick to say that if you don't "club" someone with the truth, you are guilty of compromise. What? Just because you don't run someone through with your "sword" does not mean you agree with them on a matter. It means that you understand that only the Holy Spirit can reveal to someone that which is true and that which is not. No amount of verbal abuse from you is going to change their mind.
In response to the above mentioned blog Joyce Bethy Ferguson (@bethy) wrote:
I remember how I was inspired by the idea that this was a safe place for those who called themselves children of God. This was somewhere where we would not be insulted nor ridiculed for what we believe I remember when there was more laughter ringing in the corridors of CB.
I think if we took to heart what you have written here then maybe once again the laughter would ring out.
Bethy lives in Northern Ireland, a country which has a long and bloody history of Catholics and Protestants fighting one another only they do not just fight with words. I know that she fully understands what can happen when we argue about who is right and who is wrong rather than focus on Christ and I think we would do well to take her words to heart.
I do not care how "holy" and "right" we think we are. When we argue with or are sarcastic toward our brothers and sisters in Christ; when we make snide remarks, call them names (yes, names) and insinuate they are ignorant fools,we are not honoring God and we are bringing shame to the very One whose name we bear.
It is very easy to fall into this trap but I can tell you a good way to avoid it. Form relationships with others.
At CB there are several ways to form relationships with people. We have the ability to comment on one another's blogs. If you are only commenting on your own blogs, you are not forming relationships. If you are only leaving comments that criticize other bloggers, you are forming a relationship but it is a negative relationship. If you are leaving comments that encourage or reinforce the blog as well as comments which ask questions, you are developing a positive relationship. This is not to say you will agree with every blogger but if all you are doing is arguing... it's time to look in the mirror and figure out why you are doing that. It is an indication that there is a serious problem.
At CB we have the ability to interact with one another on "The Wall". While you certainly can post "serious" things there, it is also a place to have some fun and interact with CB friends. I love "The Wall".
Finally, if you want to work on relationships in "real time", you can pop into chat. Our chatroom used to be quite busy. Sadly enough, it has quieted down quite a bit lately. The CB chatroom can bea great tool for meeting members "face-to-face" and sometimes you will discover that blogger who came across as "harsh" in their blog is actually a very kind and gentle person and we simply misinterpreted what we had read.
Our relationship with God is the most important relationship of all but we must not neglect developing relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to be connected to God but we also need to be inter-connected with one another. This is the way God designed us to be. Human beings are social creatures and whether we admit it or not, we really are happiest when we are part of a "group", even if it is only a group of two.
How's your connection?