I know that I cannot be the only person who reads comments on social media Christian posts and blogs. So I can not be the only one who reads the terrible arguments and harsh words thrown out from one person professing Christ toward another who claims the same status. And then, when atheists join the conversation to stir the pot and fan the flames, the tongue-lashings are sometimes downright filled with hate and personal judgments of another’s eternal destiny. Occasionally someone will comment on the hatred and judgmental statements, but they themselves are usually ignored or met with a scathing rebuke. I doubt I am the only one who says a prayer and scrolls on, refusing to participate in such severe criticisms.
Although I do believe in standing up for my faith, and I am not ashamed of my Savior or His Word, I do not feel the need to comment harshly on another’s beliefs. And my reasons for this are in my understanding of Biblical tenets.
Hebrews 12:14 says “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”. How can we encourage peace when we speak with bitterness and hate for someone who has a different view or opinion? Romans 14:19 tells us, “Let us, therefore, follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” And Romans 12:18 says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
Peace is defined as “a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations; a state of tranquility or serenity”. In Psalm 34:14, we are told, “Depart from evil, and do good: seek peace, and pursue it.” And 1 Peter 3:10-11 tells us, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew (shun) evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue (follow) it.”
Rather than saying things that will cause someone to doubt their faith, let us encourage them with love and kindness. This does not mean that we ignore the truth, but it does mean that we speak out of love for others. There is a way to speak truth in love, and not insist that only the truth matters, no matter how it is said. Colossians 3:15-17 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” We have the choice to either trust God, letting His peace rule in us and showing us how to live in unity with others, or we can rely on ourselves, reject His peace, and go our own way, letting hate and discontent rule our lives.
We know from Galatians 5:22-23 that peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit. In James 3:17-18, we learn “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” Rather than speaking down to others, try a gentle approach, remembering the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:1-3, when he says, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” And again, in 2 Corinthians 13:11, he tells us, “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect (imitators of God), be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”
In an age where it seems everyone wants to be right in their own opinion, and their own truth seems valid, we must remember God’s Word is the only truth, and we need to follow His will, living in peace with others as much as we are able. And before you criticize someone else’s opinion, or make a scathing remark to anyone, remember what God tells us in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
Grace and blessings on your path,