Courteous Conduct - Sharing Jesus through how we live (and speak)
The Internet has changed our lives in so many ways - some good, some not so good. We are now on a daily basis flooded with information, much of it unfiltered, uncensored, or wildly colored by the perspective of person sharing. It’s easy to think our world has becoming increasingly evil and debased; as a student of history I’m not sure I think this is true. What is true is this - every word, every action, every fall from grace can be broadcast across the world in an instant, 24/7.
I learned this first-hand nearly 15 years ago - it all started with this, a post from one of my friend’s blogs. I was living in San Francisco at the time, and rededicated my life to Christ a decade and a half ago this Friday. At the time I was blogging on a platform called TypePad, and I think I might have had about 2 people (besides myself) who read it. However, when I gave my life to Christ, my blog became an intimate space where I processed the deep pain and hurt of my decade wandering in a wilderness of rebellion and sin, and also shared the incredible hope and joy I was now experiencing in Christ.
I was friends with a guy named Bradford; we weren’t super close, but did see each other socially quite often. His blog was read by thousands of people all around the world (I had no idea); he heard I was blogging, and in late 2013 asked if he could link to my site. I of course said yes - and through this one small act, suddenly thousands of people who weren’t following Jesus were directed to my site, where they read the story of life transformed by the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Not everyone was so happy about that! I received a lot of very hostile, angry comments, some from people who had been my best friends - but many others came to me with questions, kind of like Nicodemus and Jesus in the Gospel of John chapter 3. They wanted to know if it really was possible for Jesus to set someone free like he had in my life. I had many, many opportunities to share the gospel, which took away a lot of the sting from the sometimes vicious personal attacks.
Had I responded differently; had Christ not transformed my life, and helped me see through the anger and help me love my enemies, my attitude - and writing - might have been very different. It really was such a God thing because as I mentioned for some time I hadn’t realized others had linked to my blog (another non-Christian friend in Atlanta who was also widely read had linked to my site as well), so I had no idea my writing had reached such a large audience. I also don’t want to undersell how hard it was to not take some of the attacks personally; as someone who had literally sold his soul to the devil to get attention, affirmation, and affection, having my character and integrity targeted in such public and humiliating ways was exactly the best place for the enemy to target. Thank God love won out!
We’ve all heard it said - “Actions speak louder than words.” I totally agree with this statement, but we all know our words can build up or tear down and destroy. Especially in this Internet age often our words are the only thing people will hear or see - so let’s take Paul’s words in Colossians 4:5-6 to heart:
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.