It is quite scary how many arguments I have seen over Christian blogs. With my short time in blogging I have seen more arguments on Christian blogs than secular ones! Maybe I live under a rock, but it’s what I’ve noticed. Obviously not all blogs, but a few here and there has sometimes made me nervous to post anything.
Not too long ago, I unfortunately came into contact with a woman who Proverbs 3:30 reminds me of! It says, “Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm.” I had this woman email me through my blog, who claimed to be a Christian but hurled all sorts of horrendous insults at me. Her emails were full of anger and spiteful words and never in my life have I ever had a “Christian” or any one for that matter make me feel so awful the way she did! I was so confused and had no idea where this hatred was coming from. Out of all the insults she threw at me the two that got me the most was that I don’t know God and that I abuse my child!! This she got from my blog?
I cried all night and prayed for an hour asking God to help me as I actually had no idea what to do. I asked Him to take full control of the situation and to show me my faults and give me peace about this. I wasn’t even angry, just shocked to the core so that I couldn’t think straight. I asked Him to resolve this for me.
I was so disappointed to read these words from a fellow Christian. It affected me so badly that I woke up with a bladder infection the next day! That’s what words do. They hurt, they injure and they curse. James was not playing around when he spoke about the damage a tongue does.
That next morning I prayed some more and I found that she had emailed me again, even though I had asked her to stop. But there was something she had said in her last email that made peace wash over me, because what she said made me realise how misguided she was, and she actually had no clue what she was talking about. I thanked God for kindly showing me, but did not use it against her. I just tried closing off the conversation by saying thank you and goodbye, but she was relentless and emailed again. Because I had my peace, I deleted the email without reading it and blocked her email address.
Conversations like that take place in blog comments for the entire world to see! This is why the world thinks Christianity is a joke. If we can’t love one another, why should they love Christianity? I saw a vicious fight on a Christian blog a few weeks ago – and all it boiled down to were people trying to prove their point! Imagine the unsaved got to reading that? Upsetting thought. Is it a true reflection of Jesus? Not at all. Unfortunately the world does not focus on what Jesus commanded and who He actually is, but on how Christians behave. That’s the sad part.
My one rule about approving blog comments is to not approve those trying to start an argument. Those types of people are clearly evident! If someone comments that can edify or add to what your post is about, then great! Even if they have a correction to highlight, that’s great too! It’s good to learn! The difference between someone trying to genuinely help and someone trying to fluff their own feathers and make their voice known is by the fruit that is produced by their words – is it uplifting, kind, full of love and gentle? (James 3:17). Or does it come with an insult, is jealous, puts you down, has a tone of trying to “get one up on you” and contain undertones of argumentativeness, anger and maliciousness? I Corinthians 13:1 says “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” And I find argumentative people very noisy gongs!
These types of people think that starting a sentence with “I love you as a sister/brother in Christ, but…” means it’s ok to follow with all sorts of evil offences against the person! I can’t stand it when people think they can say that but end it off with words that do not even glorify Christ!
1 Timothy 6: 4-6 says “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind…But godliness with contentment is great gain”
Phil 1:15 spells out exactly what I have noticed on arguments from blog comments: “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.”
You unfortunately get people who love to argue. I really do not suggest leaving your comments to be automatically approved, and do not approve those who are clearly just trying to start an argument! We are here to glorify Christ, not make it look as if He is the God of contention! Proverbs 17:19 says “Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin” and Proverbs 29:22 “An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.”
However, when someone starts an argument, our flesh so desperately wants to take over and fight back! It feels good to get that last word in right? I always search the scriptures for answers on how to handle this because I easily fail in this area. Many times I have asked God to place a muzzle over my mouth! So how do we walk away from strife both on our blogs and in our personal lives?
2 Timothy 2:22-26 says “But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses…”
Timothy says that we know which disputes generate strife – so walk away. Just walk away. I’m telling you do not approve that comment. If you are worried about losing a reader, then let them go and pray for them. He will eventually work everything for good to those who love Him. Timothy is telling us here that we actually have a responsibility to answer back in humility! When we have humble hearts, strife backs off. Don’t argue with an arguer – it is in their job description and they will not let up until they have had the last word! All it does is spill over into havoc. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Prov 15:1).
Humility doesn’t mean we have to be a carpet for everyone to walk over. Lets’ forget about fighting for our rights – we are able to do that when we let God be God, and to take over. That’s the great thing about our God – we can’t do anything in our own strength, only His! Once we realise this, we will be able to be humble and not be so defensive. Because the flesh is so strong once we answer that person it will all go wrong – ask the Holy Spirit to give you a humble heart and the right words before you answer. You don’t have to answer straight away – wait on the Lord for that peace and humble spirit, He never disappoints. Even if you are in the wrong, you will find that it is easier to accept your wrongs without being distraught about it.
You talk with the right attitude when you are humble.
1 Corinthians 6:7 “Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?”
I was feeling so terrible about what that woman had been saying to me that I just surrendered it all to God. It was too big for me to handle and I told Him I am willing to accept anything she said that is true, if He would just show me so that I can repent and fix it. Once you surrender an argument into His hands, He makes a way for peace.
Always examine your motives, attitudes and reactions when you want to respond. Are you genuinely wanting to help a person or do you want the last say? There is a lady in a department who is extremely insolent and insubordinate to her Manager. As an HR person, I have disciplined her through a hearing without doing it in a harsh or nasty way.
What if your humble reaction never changed the other person’s behaviour? So what? You will find that you have the joy of having acted in a godly manner!
It is hard – very very hard to respond in a godly way. It is so hard for me when I’m angry that I have to lock myself into my bedroom and pray, or else if left to my own devices sin happens. It is very hard. There is no denying that. But just push aside your feelings in the moment, as difficult as it will be, and let God step in.
Remember, God’s Word is His. His alone. We cannot act prideful claiming to know everything about it and argue over something that He alone is the Author of! Discuss, don’t argue.
“What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Corinthians 4:7)
Father, help us to love one another and help us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Sin no longer has power over us – in all our words and actions we ask that the Holy Spirit guides us to glorify You. Help Your children remember that we are all actually on the same team. Help us expand that team by being kind, gentle and humble to a lost world and realise that is not about us, but You glorious God. Help us to never focus on ourselves, but to always look to You, precious Lord. It’s all about You. In Jesus name, Amen.
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