Wisdom for Online Confrontation By Tami Heim
What’s wisdom look like in the online confrontation?
Every generation experiences debate and confrontation when it comes to unpacking the intricacies of faith. The online stream sparks all sorts of controversies and the speed of it can easily spin out of control. And sometimes, it’s downright fierce.
How do you, as a Christ-follower, listen carefully, be slow to engage, and remain calm? How do you hold fast to the truth and not be overwhelmed by the tension? How do you cling to the beauty and simplicity of the Gospel in the midst of debates that create detours? How do you respectfully give voice to what you believe to be true in an online confrontation?
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, Paul confronts Peter and leads him back to the central truth of the Gospel. There’s much to study from Paul’s example and how it applies to any online contender and champion of the faith.
- Are you willing to respectfully confront someone online?
- Are you willing to do it in a manner that honors God?
Here are 12 steps to help guide you to be more intentional and wise whenever you feel ready to confront others online.
Take Personal Inventory
Go deep and check your motives. Know what’s compelling you to publicly respond or react to what you’ve read. Be certain this is God’s assignment for you. Make it your goal to help, not humiliate or hurt.
Ensure the issue you are about to confront is relevant. Weigh its value. If it’s left unaddressed, would it impact the eternal outcome of another human being? Seek wisdom and discernment about the intended and unintended consequences.
Isolate the point of contention. Try to be as direct and clear as possible. Clarity can advance alignment and closure quickly.
Think about how you would prefer someone to confront you. Remain calm and communicate concerns with respect. The right tone and proper intensity go a long way to help someone receive what you have to say.
Keep It Real
Don’t heap unrealistic standards, expectations or legalism on others. Be factual, not judgemental. These is a person on the other side of every comment.
Offer solutions or conclusions that correct and lead to greater harmony. Take a stand and work towards a positive outcome.
Focus on Problems, Not People
Critique the problem and believe the best about the person.
Always pray first. Ask for the wisdom to know if an issue requires immediate attention or would be better handled at a later date.
Look in the mirror often and don’t forget what you’ve seen, where you’ve been, and whose you are by grace. Be ready to give freely what you’ve been given. Be prepared to give people the room they need to turn around.
Seek to Build Bridges
Encourage and affirm what’s good as much as possible. Strive to replace conflict with a bridge of reconciliation. Be different-than-expected. Deliver the truth in love.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. ~ James 1:19 – 23, NIV
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