It’s always perplexing to me how easily Christians break the Lord’s command to “love one another”—the very command which Jesus said his disciples would be known for and identified. True disciples of Jesus Christ would be known by this, if they love one another (John 13:35). But humans as we are, we seem to always default to offending other people whether inside or outside of the church, intentionally or unintentionally, whether online or offline.
Just take for example when you visit blogs or other social networks like Facebook. Haven’t they heard about netiquette? A person would express his thoughts on a certain religious or doctrinal topic and other friends would join the discussion to also express their views on whatever is the topic under discussion. But I am always perplexed that in many of these discussions, it leads to name calling, derogatory remarks, character assassination and the like. Why is this so? Well, I guess religion, like politics, is one of those hot topics.
The situation is even aggravated in our Philippine cultural context because most of us, take it personally when a negative comment is made about our views. We Pinoys feel insulted and so we retaliate with smart aleck remarks to outsmart the other guy. I think that we should all learn to discuss purely issues without taking it personally. As the saying goes, “walang personalan.” Let’s just discuss issues in a civil manner. This is something we should all learn as Pinoy Christians. Of course, we can discern if a person is really making rude remarks against us but may I suggest that we remain calm, humble and not retaliate—“an eye for an eye”—but rather remain a true Christian all the way. We don’t need to go down to their level of rudeness and ungodly conduct.
Knowledge Puffs Up
It would seem to me that it does really take time to learn how to express our views without putting down the other person. Somehow we take pride in putting shame and to belittle the other person and his beliefs. Without realizing it, we take pride in our superior knowledge and look down on those who seem not to know “the truth.” Knowledge truly “puffs up.” “But love builds up” (1 Cor. 8:1)—a good verse to meditate on.
Speak the Truth in Love
Why can’t we express our beliefs on a matter without putting down the other person? Christians? Yes we believe we are Christians but hopefully we are all growing in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ being considerate and careful of our words even as we express our agreement or disagreement on any matter.
As we interact with people on the internet, it is easy to be misunderstood because we don’t see the person eyeball to eyeball and see their facial or bodily expressions. Those who are new on the internet always make this big blunder. They always do! They should learn some rules of civility on the internet—netiquette—and avoid creating confusion, discord and animosity. Visit this link and learn.
As it has been said before, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, but at all times charity (meaning, love).” Let us learn to agree or disagree on any topic under discussion but let’s not do it in a disagreeable manner. Let us learn to love one another as Christians. Whether online or offline, let us all follow the Lord’s command though our views may differ from one another.
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