In the past few months, I’d had a couple of troubling interactions with people which have pointedly illustrated how social media, with its safety of anonymity and lack of accountability, has made it the wild wild west of inappropriate communications and resolution of arguments.
In our very public world, there seems to be less awareness and sensitivity to what, exactly, is a private matter. So, when private goes public, hurt, shame and embarrassment usually accompany that display.
I find it frustrating to have to teach someone a principle which should be common sense. If there is a dispute or a disagreement of something intensely sensitive and urgent, it needs to be first discussed, one on one, privately. Scripture instructs us…
“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”
From there, the net of help can be widened, but only if the communication attempt was unsuccessful…
“But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.”
When it is done in this manner, with respect as the cornerstone of the interaction, better, healthier results can usually manifest. I say “usually,” because, unfortunately, in our cultural landscape, there are many people who’s just rather vent and rage, in a big public way. They go FIRST to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, completely bypassing the “go to your brother first” principle. This is counterproductive, hurtful and FURTHER complicates things between the parties. Why? Because now, offense is on the table…
“A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
Yeah, so now we’re at an impasse.
There will be differing viewpoints, opinions and yes, disagreements. There is nothing new under the sun about that. But that still does not let us off the hook when it comes to a better way, a better choice, in how to work things out. It’s not impossible to do this. Nevertheless, it does take effort, thought and a WILLING spirit to engage in this approach.
God is a reconciliation kind of God; He, likewise, asks us to respond in kind.
So, let’s remember, before we go posting on social media, let’s go to our brother, one on one, instead. And, even better, before we approach him, how about we FIRST bring the matter to God?
In doing so, now we really, truly are going somewhere worthwhile!
Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse