Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Biblical Advice for the Blogosphere

Today in my quiet time I read Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 which seems to me to have specific application to the blogosphere:
"Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you have yourself cursed others."

This is not to excuse "cursing others" which certainly isn't a godly practice. But the counsel here seems to be not to overly react when others say negative things about us. The web, and particularly blogs have given millions the ability to broadcast (often unwisely) their every thought and musing. Couple that ability with indwelling sin, bitterness and selfish ambition and you've got the recipe for a whole lot of "cursing." And that's where the wisdom of Ecclesiastes is helpful. Don't take it all to heart. Don't "flame" back or react with vengeance.

And that reminds me of another sound piece of advice. Someone once wisely noted:
"We'd worry less of what people thought of us if we realized how seldom they do."

It's so true. The other day I was made aware of a rather heated online forum that was discussing and bashing me and some friends because of our opinions about courtship. Reading the comments wasn't very pleasant. There was scorn, derision and what you might call "sanitized Christian cursing." I don't know any of these people, these fellow Christians, yet they were laying into me. It helped me to remember that while these people had typed these things about me, it wasn't as if they walked around thinking of me. If they do, I feel sorry for them. I'm not that important!

The only person who always has us in mind is our Sovereign God. It's His good opinion we should seek more than anything else.

And what should guide what we write about others in our blogs? How do we handle legitimate disagreements on various topics? Last week I was meditating on James 3:13-18:
"Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

For Christians, I think this passage should be our guide for what we do and don't blog. Sadly, too much of the communication online is characterized by "disorder and every vile practice" and fueled by jealousy and selfish ambition. And I'm just as susceptible to this as anyone else. This passage is a reminder of the kind of words and communication that will be present when we're guided by the wisdom from heaven.

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