Editorial Note: I originally published this article in February of this year. Given some exchanges I have seen recently in the blogosphere, I felt that it would be relevant to repost it. I do not write this to single anyone out, but to remind myself what Christian discourse is intended to be.
One of the great things about blogging is that it gives everyone a chance to express their opinions. In some ways (not every way, of course), it is even better than dialogue. People’s comments are judged based upon the merit of what they say, not their appearance; and you can’t be interrupted in mid-sentence. As I visit various blogs, I enjoy hearing the thoughts of various bloggers. I have found many whose thoughts are informative, encouraging and inspiring. I even enjoy some of the theological debates that I have encountered, they are certainly challenging. Debate is a healthy thing, it teaches you to clearly understand and articulate your beliefs.
I am concerned, however, at the lack of graceful speech that I often find being demonstrated by God’s people to one another. When debates begin to escalate, the speech often degenerates into language that, while not profane, surely is scathing. Labels begin to pop up, sarcasm replaces reason, anger replaces gentleness, etc.
The purpose of grace that is given to God’s children is to help us get along. Well-meaning platitudes aside, believers will never come together as one until we get to heaven. There are simply too many opinions that vary too greatly. I often tell my church, “Where there are two Baptists, there will be three opinions.” But disagreement does not mean we cannot get along. Grace is meant to unify, mollify and edify. God says that our speech is to be “seasoned with grace”. The church is described in the Bible as a “body”. The Bible further states that we are members one of another in that body. I like to think of grace as the cartilage between the bones that enables the bones to work together without causing pain. Anyone who has ever experienced this in their physical body can testify to how hurtful that can be.
We are never so right that we may use ungracious speech to those who are wrong. I am becoming more and more convinced that being right with a wrong spirit is almost as bad as being wrong.
We should be truthful. We should maintain integrity to our beliefs. We should earnestly contend for the faith. But we should never resort to disingenious questions, scathing remarks or personal attacks.
I want to thank those of you who read my blog for demonstrating what I am speaking of now. I am sure with the number who come here that there are those who hold different positions. We have had Calvinists, Arminians, those who are neither, Baptists (of several varieties), charismatics and only God knows how many others. In a group of that variety there will certainly be differences, but thus far we have avoided the vitriolic speech that I have mentioned.
As we speak with others, whether on-line, at church, work, school or even on the highway (ouch), let our speech be graceful and draw men to God.