Here’s a Scriptural pattern for our admonition that I shared a while back, even relevant for today:
“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (NJKV, 2 Tim 2: 24-26)
“And the Lord’s servant must not be a man of strife: he must be kind to all, ready and able to teach: he must have patience and the ability gently to correct those who oppose his message. He must always bear in mind the possibility that God will give them a different outlook, and that they may come to know the truth. They may come to their senses and be rescued from the power of the devil by the servant of the Lord and set to work for God’s purposes.” (JB Phillips, 2 Tim 2:24-26)
I like to share this passage again for our meditation and possible self-examination. We must understand what the failure implications are.
The effectiveness of one’s faith and testimony is not in how well we speak on the podium, not in how well we use Greek & Hebrew, not in how well we can recite Scripture, not in how well we can deliver theology, not in how lengthy we can write to convince others that we know something, etc.
Rather, it is in how well we show the Lord Jesus thru our words and works. It is seen in our humility in how little we know what we know. It is seen in our attitude & talk seasoned with grace. It is seen in our realization in how much more grace is needed daily to be Christ-like. It is seen in our willingness to pause & listen and not retort. It is seen in our willingness to give a listening ear to others who pose questions (no matter what the true intentions might be) and in how we respond gracefully. It is seen in how we handle every situation without buckling under pressure and getting personal.
We do not see some of our earlier contributors here. Either they left or have become silent like me. In my view, sometimes the site has become more of a personal blog rather than a discussion. Discussions sometimes have become like debates. I wonder if to some, satisfaction comes from knowing that their shout is the loudest or that they had the last passing shot (in a thread). Being here for so long, I can say that some are maligned and ridiculed. If nothing else, a personal screen name is used to associate them with some sort of perverted lifestyle. Any question, phrase, words, letters, punctuation etc are put under microscopic analysis and used to denounce another’s writings. We are too quick to pronounce someone else as heretic or unsaved, when we disagree. In the end, we win the debate, and not win over the other person in love.
Leaders are asked to be servants. Leadership must never be a bully pulpit for one’s personal agenda.
We become effective when we realize how little we know and how great His grace has been given to us. We need the mind of Christ. We need to walk as He walked. We need to encourage others to imitate us as we imitate Christ. We must share what we know and leave the rest to the Holy Spirt to convict. The change happens in the heart, not in the head. Our behavior must attract others to us, not push them away.
Last but not the least; sometimes victory comes when we just walk away from unprofitable interactions!