In Ephesians chapter 4 we run into that famous little phrase, "speaking the truth in love." (Click here to read it in context.) Speaking is a form of communication that has potential to build up and tear down. Blogging, in our electronic age, is much the same as speaking. We convey messages. We send information out for all to see. We either build up or we tear down.
Ephesians 4 applies to blogging just as much as it does to speaking.
How, then, can we follow the Ephesians 4 principle for communication when it comes to blogging? We could take the easy way out and just stop blogging about anything of significance. This, however, misses the point. Paul didn't tell us to stop speaking the truth. We should be able to blog about important issues in a loving manner. Even when it comes to controversial and often emotional topics (such as the church), we Christian bloggers must find a way to write in a compassionate, caring manner.
How can we do this? Let me make a suggestion.
I suggest looking to scripture as a model for how to deal with tough issues. Look at how Jesus talked. Look at how the writers of the epistles wrote. Jesus and the biblical writers all communicated about difficult issues but did so in a respectful, loving manner. Two of Paul's letters stand out as prime examples. First, Paul directly but lovingly challenged the Galatians about their understanding of the true gospel. Several years later Paul wrote to the Philippian church due to their problem with disunity. In that epistle Paul goes so far as to call out by name two ladies who were involved in the problem. Despite this, Paul still does it in such a way that his message comes across as a loving one.
This is how we must blog. Especially when we are discussing the things of God, we have no choice but to write about the truth lovingly. This is, of course, easy to do when we are talking about things we like and/or agree with. I could easily and lovingly write for hours about simple church concepts, ideas, forms, practices, etc. I have a much harder time writing in a loving way about things I don't believe in. In particular, it is tough to lovingly and gracefully blog about institutional church ways of doing things. Despite the challenge, there is no option.
When blogging on church issues, it is important that we remember that all believers are part of the one body of Christ. This means that the One who unites us is greater than anything that divides us. Therefore, when writing about the institution we must recall that we are writing about our brothers and sisters in Christ. We've been repeatedly charged in scripture to speak words that build up. Blogging has the power to do this.
The Ephesians 4 passage is ultimately about edification and Christian maturity. Our goal as Christian bloggers can and should be to build up the body through our writing. We must find a way to discuss difficult issues in a manner that is gracious, loving, and edifying. If we cannot do this, we should stop blogging.
So let's talk about tough issues. Let's discuss what we don't agree upon. Let's sort through all kinds of church related stuff. And let's do it in a gracious, caring, loving manner that displays our unity as God's family.