Pristine Grace

Why Are Believers so Cruel to Each Other Online?
by Brandan Kraft
Why Are Believers so Cruel to Each Other Online?

    Before the Internet existed, believers would skewer each other face to face, and often by the pulpit and by the stroke of the pen.   But it's not as frequently as I find it today!  The cruelty of believers toward each other online is rampant!  And I'm guilty as well - very few have unclean lips in this regard.  Now today, through the use of the internet, one can attack almost seemingly without repercussion.  If I wanted to write against the current president on my social media page, there would hardly be an outrage.  Oh for sure, someone might get their feathers ruffled, but I could put my clean church clothes on and stroll on down to the evening service tonight and not really suffer for my attack.  And I suppose that is one of the reasons why it is so easy to attack other believers.  We can do it in relative comfort, and for many of us, there are no real apparent consequences for speaking out against someone, and calling them a heretic, or using some form of polemical speech against them.  We stare at our phone and computer screens in relative anonymity.

    And the internet has been such a blessing to folks like me.  Prior to the internet, if one wanted to publish something, it usually cost something.  It was costly to put out a Gospel tract, a radio ministry, or publish a book.  And it still costs money to keep the lights on in a church building somewhere so some preacher can stand before an assembly and preach the Gospel.  But now, it's pretty cheap to publish something.  This article for example, it may be read by hundreds, maybe even thousands of people over time.  It won't require a large group of people to publish it and to keep publishing it.  It won't require a building that one must walk into in order to get a copy.  It simply exists in electronic format for anyone and everyone who has a computer device who wants to read it.  The Internet has brought publishing to the masses, and now anybody can publish anything, and no editor is required!

    That's right, there is no editor or publishing group to keep us in check.  We can publish anything we want about anybody we want, including libelous words without having to even think twice before pressing send.  It's my belief that the Internet hasn't really made us any more cruel and horrible people toward each other, it's simply revealed our hearts for what they are . . . black and stony.   And so the other edge of that double-edged sword, the internet, it cuts like a knife and many needless wounds are made.  Believers routinely cut each other down.  And they try and gain followings online by exposing those they have determined are in error.  But this exposing of other people sometimes exposes the hearts of the exposer.

    Men have forgotten that on the other end of the attack is another man.  No matter how famous, powerful, wrong, and truly vile this person may be, he's still another living and breathing human being.  And this person could be another blood-bought sinner just like us.  We must ask ourselves in our attacks on other people, what is the purpose of this attack?  Is this my flesh speaking, or am I truly struggling to use my words to edify someone else?   Do I just want others to share in my outrage, or do I want others to be bulit up in the truth?   The sciptures are clear that others will know us by whether or not we love one another (John 13:34-35), not by "winning" an internet debate.

    Think about this the next time you sit down to "roast" another human being with your public social media post and ask yourself these questions...

  1. "Why am I doing this?"
  2. "Is this really necessary?"  
  3. "What good can come from this?"  
  4. "Am I hurting anyone needlessly?"  
  5. "Is there a better way to get my point across?"  

    Instead of attacking the man, sometimes it's better to just attack a concept or just preach the truth.  These days, if I sense that someone really has it out for someone else, I simply ignore them.  It wouldn't matter how right this person is, I simply don't want to hear about who said what or who preached such and such.  The only thing I want to hear is Christ and Him crucified.