What should I make of all the things I am reading about my church on the internet? Much of it is negative, and I do not know what to make of it. It seems so many people's motives are impugned, whereas I am not so sure we are in a position to judge. Do you have any advice?
Here are a few principles, which I believe will make sense to you and hopefully help others as well:
1. Remember that there is always another side of the story (Proverbs 18:17). If you have the chance to correct misinformation, be sure to do so with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3).
2. You are right, let's trust in people's motives (1 Corinthians 4:1-5). It is one thing to judge actions, quite another to attempt to judge motives. The Lord alone is the righteous judge.
3. Slander and gossip are serious sins (1 Corinthians 5) and grounds for disfellowship. Ephesians 4:29 -- let's be edifying in whatever we say.
4. Despite all the opinions flying around, you are right. "God has done great things among us." And we must never forget the good the Lord has done, despite all our mistakes, sins, humanism and reliance on the flesh (Romans 8:28).
5. The internet for too many persons is a "safe" place from which to launch salvos on others. Like Shimei, they pelt those who have offended them with abuse, standing at a safe distance (2 Samuel 16:13)! The written word has certain limitations (as the conclusions of 2 and 3 John attest), and face-to-face discussion is far superior.
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