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Proverbs 2:1-2 My son, if you will receive my words and hide my commandments with you, so that you attend to wisdom, you shall extend your heart to understanding;</>
Wisdom and understanding. There are some interesting things about those two things.
- they temper your response,
- they give you proper response,
- they give you confidence to properly respond,
- they take your response to new levels not otherwise possible.
In the online community, there are bashers. People who have to take some opposing viewpoint. And that’s true even in personal “in person” discussion. Here’s what I shared online about that, along with a little more. I see several different kinds of bashers for almost any topic, including spirituality. Probably most seen in the Christian community.
What I like to call the “non-basher”. If you ask a question or add a different dimension to the discussion, you’re ignored. As if your input isn’t worthy of comment.
The “you’re mostly right” basher. They’ll proceed to say that you’re right, but…. Then they’ll proceed to fully tear apart everything.
The “how can you believe that?” basher. This one openly disagrees with you, as if your beliefs are ignorant or demonically wrong. Despite the fact that you both say you follow Jesus Christ.
The “alternative evangelist”. He/she believes something different than you do — they’re avid iPhoners and need to convert you from whatever else you’re happily using, they follow a totally different religious belief and know they need to open your eyes to the “truth”. The latter got me to write “Is Your god So Small?”, back in May (elsewhere here).
What they all forget is that “one size fits all” usually doesn’t work. Whether it’s technology, style, spirituality, etc., not everyone is going to have the same taste or the same understanding. I’m not afraid to share what I believe. But trying to cram it down someone’s throat will never fit into Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. So, I say what I need to. I fellowship with other Christians around what Christ did for us rather than how our doctrines differ. And for those of other ideas, I tell them what I believe and why, then let my life speak to them. Christ in me does much more than I can ever do as a person. And I let Him determine, in each case, how much ought to be verbal and how much ought to be example.
There’s also a whole other aspect to bashing (or not bashing). Remember that one of the first set of points was that wisdom and understanding give confidence. The basher often lacks that confidence.
There are several possible responses to bashing. We can ignore it (the ostrich approach), we can strike back (“I’ve got bigger guns than you do.”), or we can share Truth and let that do its work (it won’t return void). Any one of those may be best in any given situation. But which we use must be tempered by the two great commandments. And those can be summarized as “love God, love people, in that order”. That summarizes all God’s commandments. And, if we keep that in mind to direct our thoughts and behavior, our response to the basher or anything else will be one of wisdom and understanding, with all the confidence we need.
What area of your life will God give you that confidence in, today?