I was on Facebook, arguing. Bad move. What made me think I was obligated to correct a stranger on a hot topicespecially a divisive one? The results were heated words, hurt feelings (on my part anyway), and a broken opportunity to witness well for Jesus. Thats the sum outcome of internet anger. Its the term for the harsh words flung daily across the blogosphere. As one ethics expert explained, people wrongly conclude that rage is how public ideas are talked about.
Pauls wise advice to Timothy gave the same caution. Dont have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lords servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone (2 Timothy 2:2324).
Pauls good counsel, written to Timothy from a Roman prison, was sent to prepare the young pastor for teaching Gods truth. The apostles advice is just as timely for us today, especially when the conversation turns to our faith. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth (v. 25).
Speaking kindly to others is part of this challenge, but not just for pastors. For all who love God and seek to tell others about Him, may we speak His truth in love. With every word, the Holy Spirit will help us.