“46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” – Matthew 5:46-47
When I have writer’s block, I tend to be on the look-out for even the tiniest speck of inspiration for my next blog entry. Recently, it arrived in the form of one word: respect.
It was during a conversation about certain Christian circles that resort to vitriol and insults to have the last word whenever they have been challenged on their blogs. “They only respect those who agree with them.” That is a sad statement to make about Christians that operate a Christian blog who claim to share the love of Christ with the world.
Online, they seem to have two sets of words – the ones they say and the ones they put into action. Saying “I love my neighbor” doesn’t mean much one one acts with words to dismiss ideas, shut down dialogue, ignore concerns, and teams up with others for the occasional character attack. Not only that, but they post according to their preconceived idea of the poster: “This person must be a member of the (name of the opposite camp) because they’re pointing out a supposed inconsistency with my perfectly Biblical post. In which case I’m entirely justified in ignoring them, but I’d rather correct them in love …” as if a person in their own camp would never disagree with their interpretation or application of that particular post.
What usually follows is the rebuke. Now in the real world, you don’t usually see Christians rebuke each other, why it would be out of place for a brother or sister in the faith to sit down next to you at the church fellowship meal and scold you for your meal’s poor nutritional content and extremely high calorie count in the name of Jesus. However, the internet allows for a degree of anonymity and when ideas are thrown are out there, it isn’t long before somebody finds an error that needs to be poked at in the name of Jesus. The theory goes, you’ll suddenly be converted to their way of thinking as your eyes are opened to the error and you’ll be saved, or at least, less punished in heaven than you would have been otherwise. As you can see, it’s quite subjective, trying to win people over to another person’s way of thinking doesn’t usually work as most people don’t think exactly the same way which explains why most people don’t believe exactly the same things all the time either.
I wonder how Christianity would be different if the first foundation of all social interaction was love and the second respect. What we do have to go by is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I’m pretty sure that one still applies in the virtual world.
“Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” – 1 Peter 2:17