Sometimes, people disagree. Sometimes, people disagree and one of them is wrong. Sometimes, people disagree and everyone involved is wrong.

For those of us on this board who are followers of Christ, we should not be surprised when others show up here and disagree with Christianity/the Bible. Remember, before most of us became followers of Christ, we were "enemies of God" as well.

Did you know that there are atheists in this forum who are pretending to be Christians? We all know about the open atheists, of course, but did you know about the pretenders? They are here searching for answers, but keeping quiet because they're too afraid to ask the questions. So they watch, they listen to how we interact with each other, and they form opinions.

I wonder what they see?

I'm not calling anyone out, so I won't quote, but I will tell you the kinds of things I see. I see followers of Christ who call each other names. I see followers of Christ who use biting sarcasm to try to win an argument. I see followers of Christ who use these same tactics on those who openly admit that they disbelieve the Bible.

What message does that send?

Of course we're going to disagree with each other. Sometimes an issue isn't clear, and all we have to go on are opinions. Sometimes our opinions are wrong. Disagreements are a natural part of the learning process, but how are we handling those disagreements?

John 13:34-35: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 15:12: "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." And in case they missed it, in John 15:17, He says, "This is my command: Love each other."

We will disagree; it would be silly to think otherwise. Sometimes, we will be wrong; that is also silly to think otherwise. The million-dollar question to keep in mind, however, is this: How are we handling those disagreements? Are we demonstrating that Christ is alive and well within us, and that He desires, more than anything else, for people to place their faith in Him? Are we demonstrating that He died for everyone, not just the "good people"? Are we demonstrating the grace that has been so lavishly bestowed upon us?

This isn't meant to be heavy-handed. Please understand that I am just as guilty with my sarcasm and anger as others. Sometimes it's been in the distant past, a few times it's been right here in these forums, and I'm sorry. It was uncalled for.

The animosity towards each other has to stop. The animosity towards those who are non-believers has to stop. People are dying and going to Hell, plain and simple, because they are rejecting the Love of their Creator. How much are we contributing to that?

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Comment by Charles Martin Jr on December 19, 2010 at 8:27am

Well-spoken, David.  I've been reminded quite a bit in my personal life that just because I have a good reason to do something, doesn't mean I have the right.

Comment by David Thomas Posey on December 18, 2010 at 10:49am

Great points, Mr. Martin.  I have a very high tendency to overreact, and this post is convicting.

 

Alexander, you wanted some feedback.  I think you are absolutely correct that we should treat others as Christ wants us to treat them rather than how we want treated.  We might not think we want corrected when we are wrong, because it is unpleasant for us at the time, but we need to be warned.  The important thing to keep in mind is that Christ wants us to warn people within the bounds of loving one another.  It may sometimes be alright for a person to receive a harsh affront, but not necessarily to give one.  Love builds up, not tears down.  Love encourages, not discourages.  Corrections should spring from love for the person who is wrong, not irritation at them.  Then they will also be bridled by love. 

Comment by Charles Martin Jr on November 22, 2010 at 7:27am
Alexander,

That's an interesting take on things. The thing is, the world will treat Christians poorly. John 15:18-25 is a great example of that. And how are we to react to the world when it insults our Lord? Matthew 5:38-48 and Luke 6:27-36 provide the answer.

So what about our brothers and sisters in Christ who happen to bite back with sarcasm and animosity? Yes, we are to admonish our wayward family, but admonishing someone and "giving them a taste of their own medicine" are two different reactions.
Comment by Alexander Martin on November 21, 2010 at 1:38pm
This is good! Would that we all could be like Christ. Too many times I find myself doing unto others the things I would have them do unto me. These are things like calling me on a bad argument if I give one, using my same tactics against me, giving tit for tat. Perhaps too often this comes off as returning evil for evil or an eye for an eye. Perhaps it would be better to practice doing unto others the way Christ wants to do to you rather than the way you want to be treated. Which of these do you think is the better instruction? Christ himself gave the first rule. In fact, it seems that Christ allows certain calamaties to befall us when we do not walk in the way in order to teach us how to correct our path. It seems He even does this if we are walking in the Way to build character. If Christ does this to us, how should we treat others? Should we use the kid gloves so that they can see that they can get away with treating Christians poorly? I know that vengence is the Lord's but how should we act to help them to grow? I know that I personally would want someone to treat me the way I was treating them so that I could at least see my own reflection and see if it was something I liked or not. Perhaps this is selfishness talking. I would love some feedback.
Comment by Stefan Morin on November 21, 2010 at 11:25am
Really hit home for me. Thanks for saying what needed to be said.
Comment by Charles Martin Jr on November 17, 2010 at 7:14am
Travis,

You're absolutely right about other forums. It's . . . shocking, sometimes.

It certainly can be annoying when someone hijacks a thread, but I've found that often times an "unrelated post" can be brought full-circle and have some bearing on the topic. When they can't, though, it is annoying.
Comment by Travis Perry on November 16, 2010 at 12:06pm
Extremely well put. I have been on other "Christian Forums" in the past and it is even worse on some of those.
There also seems to be those, who hijack threads, with real long posts that get completely off the original subject of the thread. I find that annoying.
Comment by Charles Martin Jr on November 16, 2010 at 7:49am
You're welcome, Liana! It's been on my heart for a while, but I needed to "deal with it" in myself before I made a blanket accusation. ;-)

The truth is, when we keep in mind that we are nothing without Him, that sort of puts all of us on the same playing field. It's hard to judge someone else when I keep in mind that He should be judging me, but He chose to forgive, instead.
Comment by Liana White on November 13, 2010 at 1:01pm
Wow! I appreciate your saying that.

Sometimes, we forget that we can still be wrong, even though God and his Word are always correct. But if we are truly humble, being right doesn't matter so much as knowing Who is the source of all knowledge. In order to be able to point people to Him, we need to avail ourselves of His transforming power and to be know as different. It costs me nothing to be patient and explain, yet again... It may cost someone else their eternal status if I drive them away by ungodly attitudes.

Thanks for the reminder and encouragement to remember Who I am in Christ, Who I it is am representing in the world.

Blessings!

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