Respect in the Blogosphere

I didn’t even know what a “blog” was until my friend, Carolyn McCulley, introduced me to her Radical Womanhood website (then under a different name). At my house late one night, she plugged into my computer a few of her blog favorites. At the time, I never dreamed that one day I would be referred to as a “blogger!”

I’ve personally benefitted from reading some of my favorite blogs. I’ve found insightful and biblical instruction. I’ve been challenged and encouraged. Normally I read the articles, but refrain from following the comment stream.

For me, one of the benefits of a good blog is the community that can develop through sending thought provoking and encouraging comments. It so blesses me to hear how God is at work in your lives. I’ve even had the privilege of watching women respond to the gospel and seeing His transformation occur in their lives through a blog post.

But, at times I’ve been surprised by some of the hostile comments that I’ve read on some good Christian websites. One of the HUGE negatives to this form of discussion is the inability to exchange smiles, to hear gracious tones of response, to see sincere kindness expressed while verbalizing differences.

One of the most disappointing and surprising things I’ve discovered as a cyberspace novice is the seeming ease and frequency with which individuals throw out a barrage of personal criticisms to total strangers. I’ve visited websites where the victim of a “blog attack” was a personal friend, but from reading the site’s comments, my friend was unrecognizable. The bloggers’ mischaracterization revealed an ignorance of her heart, character, or actions.

Of course, this comes as no surprise when non-believers engage in discussion. We should expect lost people to act lost—and grant grace accordingly. But how can believers biblically justify this type of behavior?

I’ve found Ephesians 4:29–32 an invaluable guide for me when conversing (whether verbally or in writing):

[box]Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.[/box]

What is your reaction when your position is challenged?

To fight back in self-defense?

To return criticism with criticism?

To set up your defense with unbeatable logic tinged with bitter jabs?

How about if we proclaim this as an “Ephesians 4:29 Day” and open our mouths (or click our computer keys) to give grace to those who hear (or read)!

Adapted from my True Woman blog post: 09.04.09