• Tom Strode

Does our rhetoric pass the grace and love tests?

The fruit of the Spirit is not uncharitableness, unkindness, unwillingness to listen to others' viewpoints. It just appears some evangelical Christians think they are entitled to act as if they are -- especially on social media.

Maybe you have made the same observation this week and in recent weeks even if you are an infrequent visitor to Twitter. The unhelpful rhetoric -- sometimes from both sides -- has accompanied such issues as women in ministry, social or racial justice, and a pastor praying for the president while seeking to protect his church's unity in Christ. Some pastors, ministry and institutional leaders, and other Christians act as if they have a corner on truth, even in secondary matters, that qualifies them to take no prisoners and even speak crassly when they voice the positions they confidently hold.

And this kind of dialogue -- or monologue, really -- can happen in a church as well. We should all guard against the temptation to communicate this way in person or on social media for at least these reasons:

-- It doesn't reflect the grace of God or of His gospel (Ephesians 2:4-9).

-- It grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).

-- It shows a lack of love for other Christians, thereby failing to obey Christ's command, to provide evidence of our salvation and to demonstrate what God's love is like (John 15:12, I John 4:7-12).

-- It unnecessarily divides the church over secondary matters (Ephesians 4:1-6).

-- It undermines the witness of the church (John 13:35).

When we communicate -- even the truth -- with a lack of grace, love and humility, we should be grieved. It matters not only what we say but how we say it.

May we address our differences over secondary issues with brothers and sisters by repenting of our pride, humbling ourselves, prizing Jesus and His church over our perspectives and communicating with a desire to understand another's point of view.

-- Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash


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