Here is an excerpt from the article:
A couple of weeks ago I spoke to several pastors and asked them, “How many of you have received a nasty email in the last six months?” Every single person in the room raised their hand—including me.
Let me be clear; I believe the majority of people are civil and respectful in their online dialogue. However, there remains a vocal minority who insist on remaining unpleasant both in tone and word. And these unkind words come from many who self-identify as Christians, who somehow believe that malice is an acceptable form of communication.
Which raises a question: Why do so many Christians persist in being mean?
I don't. That is one of the big reasons I don't watch reality programming. Because the people on there who put people down make me feel very uncomfortable.
And it seems to have crept into Christianity as well. I particularly see this side come out of my Christian brothers and sisters during election time. Some how the "love thy neighbor as thyself" doesn't seem to matter if they are running for political office.
Oh, don't get me wrong. I can be mean in my own way. I'm not proud of it. And I do hope I'm losing my mean streak.
But I don't send anonymous emails. I don't post anonymous comments online. I don't post negative things on social media. That is just not my thing.
Here is a little more from that article:
If our deepest desire is to know the truth, then we will be open to listening—not just speaking—because there is a good chance someone else may share a thought, insight or wisdom we have yet to learn. And when our desire for the truth surpasses our desire to be right, then we will be open and always seek first to listen and learn.
This does not mean we cannot share our thoughts and opinions. But if truth is the highest goal, we will speak for the benefit of others, and not just for the benefit of ourselves. Sure there are times when we feel like we are being crucified for what we believe. But what would happen if, even in the moments when it feels like we are being attacked, we spoke words of grace, hope and forgiveness?
That’s where real courage lies. It does not lie in the confines of our offices and living rooms sitting behind a keyboard and typing anonymous messages. Real courage is full of grace. It is gentle and kind and constructive and honors others. Perhaps this kind of courage should be the very thing that emboldens us to speak, far more than a computer keyboard ever could.
I want to have real courage, full of grace....being gentle, and kind and constructive, and I want to honor others. I want to build people up, not tear them down.
But sometimes that is hard when they rub me the wrong way...when they annoy me....when they act in ways I don't approve...
But these are my problems. And I need to deal with these on my own terms, with help and forgiveness from God who gives me the unconditional love to see past the faults of others. And treat them with grace and encouragement.
Perhaps the reason we have such a hard time honoring others with our words is because the idea of grace is something far too many of us have heard about, but few have truly experienced. That’s because grace cannot be earned, bought or taken by force. Grace is a gift. Which means it can only be given and received.
Amazing Grace, How Sweet The Sound,
That Saved A Wretch Like Me
I Once Was Lost, But Now I'm Found,
Was Blind But Now I See.