We all go through times in our lives where themes are constantly coming up in our daily devotions, in sermons and in conversations. One idea that the Spirit seems to keep raising in my heart over the past several months has been that of Kingdom Relationships.
All I am saying with the idea of Kingdom Relationships, is that we have to relate to people, all people, within the context of Kingdom Relationships. My relationship with my spouse needs to be one that prepares her to be a citizen of the eternal kingdom. My relationships with my children should prepare them for the day that they bow before that eternal throne. My interactions with my coworkers should be such to encourage those who are entering into the kingdom and compelling towards those who are not already submitting to the King. I submit to you that our interactions with everyone on this planet with whom we have any contact must be contributing to the building up of the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But, does that really hold true in the blogosphere? This has been the subject of much discussion on the Christian forums of cyberspace. I have witnessed many a discussion that turned from its subject to harsh words of disagreement or accusation over anything or nothing. You may well have seen hijacks of interesting threads turn to inane discussions or crazy accusations. Is this behavior in keeping with the Truth? Again, I postulate that all our interactions must be kingdom focused. Even in cases of contention and confrontation we must conduct ourselves with a care that we do not turn away those who need to enter in nor do we savage those with whom we will worship for all eternity.
All this is readily agreeable. There is a practical problem however. It comes in two parts. The first should be readily apparent to all. We have the great mandate of Ephesians 4:15 to speak the truth in love. We must speak in a way that shows love. It is always easier to communicate when we speak to people face to face. Oral communication is the next easiest. The hardest is realm in which to communicate is that of written words. It is so difficult (even in this age of emoticons ;p !) to communicate our intentions accurately. That means that participants in email, blogs and chats need to be that much more wary of how they express themselves. I believe that this problem is also helped by identification. On a blog, when I feel like garythegreat89 is attacking me it is hard to imagine this cyberbabble of a name as a brother in Christ. When participants clearly identify themselves and open themselves up to reproof and correction by publishing their email address they are less likely to be lighting up the flamethrower.
The second part of the problem is accepting confrontation in grace. Whenever someone comes to us with criticism, rebuke, reproof or correction we need to accept it as from the Lord. Even when it is mostly untrue there is almost always some element of truth that we can take and allow the Holy Spirit to use. I think of the strong words that Paul uses at the end of 1 Corinthians 4, "What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?" The apostle apparently felt warranted to say that his demeanor toward them would be based on their response.
So my admonition to any who reads these words is that we all must speak the truth in love, hear the truth with grace and proclaim the truth of the Kingdom!