From Aaron: Some words on something I think is very important: peacemaking in the age of online discussions. We NEED to be talking about how to navigate this.
It’s SO easy for us to fly into self righteous rage in comment sections. But it’s not the way of the peacemaker. Jesus calls us to navigate these difficult waters. In this podcast is some really practical stuff I’ve picked up over the years about how to be a peacemaker in online (and offline) discussions. I think we all could use reminders like this, myself included! I hope it’s helpful to you as you navigate this crazy season we are in. Remember that Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers. We have a role to play in this cultural moment, and despite how things seem at times on social media, we don’t have to blow out witness. We can hold onto our convictions while passionately loving those who disagree.
So often we live in echo chambers where we can easily dismiss and disrespect those we disagree with. But how does that feel when others do it to us? How does it feel when people who disagree with us show us respect, despite the disagreements? Friends, we are called to see those we disagree with the way God sees them, humans made in the image of God! Mark 16: 15 – Jesus said “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation!” That includes not just “safe people” in far off countries, but the people right in our own cities, families, and social groups who get under our skin because of differing views.
Most people in our country are traditionally divided into 2 groups: conservatives and liberals, and traditionally, these 2 groups despite one another (especially around election season.) For Christians who claim either label, I would gently ask this: how can you reach a population when you instinctively hate half the population due to your disagreements with them?
We are called to the way of the Peacemaker (Jesus), not to be like the Pharisee who said “thank GOD I’m not like him… that nasty tax collector…” We are called to be like Jesus, someone who reached out to both Pharisee and tax collector with the hope and good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom. I find it’s best to work on our heart posture in advance.
It is fully possible to hold compassion without compromise! In my time doing ministry I’ve felt a special pull towards reaching out to those on the margins of faith, those who are skeptics or have doubts or negative feelings about faith… very often they’ve told me “thank you for your kindness, most Christians hate me.” I take no pride in this… but I’m filled with concern, because I truly believe every atheist alive should know at least 5 Christians who treat them with love.
Also… I’m very aware of my own failures in this area. When I was a young Christian I loved debating with people… and I drove many away with my lack of love. I want to encourage us all to make an effort in this area. It is so important to show kindness to those we disagree with!
Love is our weapon and it WILL make a difference if we use it. ❤️