Today, Technorati.com told me that it searches 24.4 million blogs. That’s up from 14.2 million two months ago. Apparently, in the past 8 weeks, at least ten million people have decided they have something the world needs to hear. Maybe. Maybe not. However, as Carl Trueman succinctly points out:
“The danger of the web is this: where everyone has a right to speak, everyone ends up thinking they have a right to be heard; and when everyone in general thinks they have a right to be heard, then you end up with a situation where nobody in particular is listened to.”
In spite of the inherent dangers, I really am grateful to God for blogs and the Internet. The amount of information at our literal fingertips is staggering. Through a simple Google search I can learn more than I’d ever want to know about almost any topic, person, or event. Granted, massive information doesn’t translate to useful or accurate information. However, there is an increasing number of respected authors and sources (as well as web versions of books) to make the Internet a valuable tool to the discerning seeker.
It’s that word “discerning” that causes problems. With all the information available to us, our greatest need is wisdom to know what really matters. And THAT information is ultimately found in God’s revelation to us, the Bible. There we find that God is not only concerned with what we say, but how we say it. So today, I’d like to reference a few things God has to say about our attitudes when we blog.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
(Eph. 4:29, ESV)
As ambassadors of Christ, we’re never free to say whatever we feel like saying. Even when we think we’re right. Blogs and posts by Christians should build others up and give grace to those who read them. While it’s easy and at times appropriate to point out what’s wrong with the world, we want to do it in a way that offers some kind of solution and hope, rather than simply rant.
“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. (2Tim. 2:23-25a ESV)
At least two thoughts here. God values gentleness and kindness when speaking to those who don’t see eye to eye with us. When I’m responding to a particular view, it’s helpful to ask what I DON’T know about those disagreeing with me, before addressing what I think I DO know. I also want to treat others the way I would like to be treated. Do I want someone judging my motives, inaccurately reading what I wrote, or attacking my character? Not my preference.
Second, God makes it clear that that are some things not giving the time nor space to. “Avoid foolish controversies.” The only things gained are deeper pride, broken relationships, and wasted time.
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
(Rom. 12:3, ESV)
Humility is precious in God’s sight. We could use more of it in the blogosphere. Humility is embracing who I am in God’s sight and relating to others accordingly. My good friend, CJ, wrote a book on it, simply called Humility: True Greatness. Every blogger (and Christian) would benefit by reading it.
Humility means I avoid speaking condescendingly, arrogantly, or harshly because I think I know more than the person I’m talking to. Humility means I don’t think more highly of myself than I ought. If I haven’t spent hundreds of hours exhaustively studying a subject, I don’t speak as though I have. If I actually researched a topic, my speech is tempered by the fact that what I don’t know exceeds what I do know.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
(Col. 3:12-14, ESV)
Blogs and comments will continue to be written by sinful people. When I’m the object of criticism, uncharitable judgment, or slander, God wants me to forgive others as I have been forgiven. Again, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to respond to criticism, point out errors, or challenge assumptions. Truth must be defended. But as our thoughts make their way through cyberspace, let’s be sure it’s the truth of Jesus we’re defending, and not our wounded pride.
As Christians, blogs present one more arena in which we can be an aroma of the Gospel to a world that rarely sees people acting with “compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” as we proclaim and demonstrate this great salvation we’ve received. Let’s make every effort to seize the opportunity.