Desiring God: Internet Trolls in Church Clothes
How now shall we comment? Consider some examples of the kind of questions we can ask ourselves before posting.
- Am I speaking from a soul satisfied in God or from my discontent?
- Have I prayed for this person to whom I’m about to respond?
- Have I labored to understand what he is saying?
- Do I love this person (1 Peter 2:15–17) — even if they feel like an enemy (Matthew 5:43)?
- Am I merely trying to one-up him?
- How would I phrase this critique if I had to speak it to him face to face?
- Can I raise my critique in private instead of in public?
- How can I say this in a way that aims to build him up as well as the hearers?
- Is this particular critique needful at this point in time?
- Could I be wrong?
- Am I sowing discord or delight?
Again, loving speech does not mean never saying anything that could offend. It does not lead to a watered-down eclecticism or silence on important doctrinal and exegetical distinctions. Jesus confronted, offended, challenged, and rebuked his disciples. But he also went to the cross for them. And we are to love — online and off — like him.