“Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2.14-16″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>2 Timothy 2:14-16 ESV)
Am I fighting against sinful teaching or synonyms for the truth? Am I going bananas over a nuance or a heresy?
“Speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. … But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (Titus 3:2, Titus 3.9-11″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>9-11 ESV)
Do I like to stir the pot? Am I always looking for an argument? Do I give people the benefit of the doubt more than I doubt them? Am I courteous, respectful and gentle?
“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” (1 Timothy 1.5-7″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>1 Timothy 1:5-7 ESV)
What are my motives? Am I really sure, verifiable with Biblical texts, on what I’m about to say?
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13.11″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV)
Do I want unity or division with my brother or sister? Is what I’m about to say helping toward that end?
Bombastic browbeating never wins anyone. Ridiculousness and rudeness never accomplishes the goal.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12.9-10″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>Romans 12:9-10 ESV)
How can I honor my brother or sister more than they honor me, because I have Christlike affection for them?
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10.31-33″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>1 Corinthians 10:31-33 ESV)
Is this going to glorify God? Will this unnecessarily offend? Will this trend toward the goal of seeing people believe in Jesus?
Now, of course you can’t ask these questions every time you are about to hit enter. But you can have these words so hidden in your heart that you won’t sin against God or your neighbor, whom you are to love like you love yourself.
The golden rule is still gold.
Engage others as you would like to be engaged with. Comment on other people’s blogs as you would like for them to comment on yours. Debate as you would like to be debated with. In all things, walk in a manner worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27).