I think we can all agree that social media has put the coarse in discourse! The politically-correct media “cancels” opposing views, Internet trolls attack with anonymity, and the public square is now isolated enclaves of like-minded people shouting at those with whom the disappear.
The Bible is clear that Christ-followers are to have a very different tone in conversations online and in line for coffee at church. The apostle John teaches three characteristics of Christian conversation:
John, the former “Son of Thunder” who wanted to call down fire on Jesus’ opposition, writes: “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
It breaks the heart of God to see the hate and vitriol of social media posts by “so called” Christians. Our writing must flow from the very character of God which is love. The Bible is clear: If we do not love, we do not know God.
Our pens must drip with God’s love because he is the “author” of our faith. It’s what sets us apart from those thousands of contemporaries. “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35).
However, that doesn’t mean we have to abandon . . .
John also writes that “Jesus was full of truth and grace” (John 1:14). Writing with truth and grace is a delicate balance and, unfortunately a lot of writers emphasize one over the other. We either write with cruel truth or compromising grace. Our audience is either going straight to hell or God would never eternally punish anyone. So, it is vital in remaining true the gospel to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
This is going to become harder and harder in a culture that wants to “cancel” any message that is insensitive, offensive or “politically incorrect” to those the Bible calls “sinners.” Paul wrote in a culture obsessed with idolatry, both heterosexual and homosexual immorality, as well as abortion and infanticide. Yet he boldly taught of “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). The apostle also urges us to write with . . .
“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” (Colossians 4:6). We are all recipients of God “unmerited favor,” so we write with the understanding that we are all sinners worthy death who have been saved only the amazing grace of God. “‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty’” (Luke 17:10).
Writing God’s truth will become increasingly challenging as more and more “hate crime” legislation threatens the unfettered proclamation of the Gospel. But we are promised “the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said” (Luke 12:12).
The key is writing with God’s love, truth and grace!
Several years ago, I wrote a post on why God is so bent out of shape by homosexual sin. Male/male and female/female bonds bend that image of God out of shape since we are created male and female in his image (Genesis 1:27). God’s image is so complex that it needs two genders to reflect his being. I worked hard attempting to write the piece with love, truth and grace.
I immediate got an email beginning with “First, I am gay and I am an atheist.” I braced myself for what I feared would come next, but I was shocked. “Second, if there is a God, I want him to be like the One you described.” Whew!
So here’s my “tweet-able” conclusion: Love without truth and grace is simply sinful sentimentality!
Copyright © 2021 by James N. Watkins
Photo: John Jennings
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