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Can Any Good Come From Controversy?

I’m an optimist. I believe it would be good to share that upfront.

But, I’m not optimistic because I’m naïve (at least not completely) or because I think there isn’t evil in the world (my heart often proves otherwise), but because of the gospel. I desire to write about the hope we have in the gospel soon—that isn’t what this post is about, at least not directly. 

The gospel does, however, remind me of the hope we have even when everything seems to be in complete disarray.

Increased accessibility to the Internet and an influx of social media means news—any news—travels at lightning speed. There is so much that I would never hear about if it were not for Twitter. 

A great example is the recent Reformed Rap controversy. I don’t follow the panel that spoke out against rap and would never have heard about this if a friend hadn’t posted it on Twitter. I’m not advocating that we discontinue sharing news, I’m simply stating the facts; we do not have to wait until the newspaper arrives to discover that something has happened in the world (local and beyond).

Often, the news that spreads the quickest is controversial—someone said something or did something that wasn’t wise, was hurtful or shameful. We hear about it for about a week or so and then it goes away.

So can any good come from controversies?

Here are a few of my (personal) observations:

1. Conversation and thoughtfulness.

Our initial reaction when these controversies first spread is rage and disbelief. But at some point, thoughtful conversation emerges from the mountain of outrage.

People begin to question motives, alliances, convictions and even doctrinal statements. Thoughtful and helpful conversations that may have never happened begin to take place. There is an increased desire for unity and understanding. Necessary rebukes often emerge. There can even be repentance and forgiveness.  

We often see rebukes against the outrage—that’s a good warning too.

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Trillia Newbell is a wife, mom, and writer who loves Jesus. She is the author of United: Captured by God's Vision for Diversity (Moody Publishers, March 2014). You can follow her on twitter at @trillianewbell