Friday, June 09, 2006

Building up the Body of Christ

I know we are supposed to confront error in the Church, and expose heresy, but I have been a bit concerned about methods and tone that we as bloggers have developed towards other Christians. I was reading Colossians today and came across some scriptures that I studied a bit using footnotes from my Bible.

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

Therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering: bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts to which also you were called in one body and be thankful. Col. 3:8-15

Lately the blog has (rightly) been up in arms about coarse language in fellow Christians. In confronting the matter, many voices have been raised and concern shown for the laxity and permissiveness the Church is falling into. pursuing holiness and right living, sometimes the stridency in tone is perhaps as harmful as the bad language being railed against. I looked up some synonyms for malice, since it is listed along with coarse language, and anger. Some synonyms are as follows: A desire to harm others or to see others suffer: despitefulness, ill will, malevolence, maliciousness, malignancy, malignity, meanness, nastiness, poisonousness, spite, spitefulness, venomousness, viciousness.

Some of these synonyms look a little bit like some of the comments posted on various blogs. I don't think anyone would say (rightfully) that they desire harm towards another Christian, but in confronting someone, do any of these words apply for the way the confrontation is stated?

What follows are from the footnotes of my Geneva Study Bible, and perhaps we need to look at these definitions and consider carefully how we relate with each other in the Body of Christ. We are accountable for our words, and our heart attitudes. Especially check out humility, meekness, and longsuffering.

Tender mercies: An emotional, caring relationship with those whose lives are hurt and broken.

Kindness: Readiness to do good even when it may be undeserved.

Humility: A posture of lowliness and servanthood.

Meekness: Or, "gentleness" in offering help, a non-coercive approach to encouraging change in others' lives.

Longsuffering: Willingness to take the long view in the face of human frailty.

The peace of God: in its practice of love, forgiveness, and graciousness, the Christian community is to be a showcase of the reconciliation and peace Christ has brought between heaven and earth, and within a fractured humanity.

Along with the controversies in the Christian blogosphere, are questions about the bloggers responsibility to communicate in a manner that brings glory to God, and growth to the Church. A good dose of humor sprinkled throughout is also refreshing, but again, let us examine ourselves in order to find ourselves approved in the sight of God that we might build up the Body of Christ and not tear it down.


At 1:32 PM, Blogger 4given said...

Well said, Candy. Your garden and bird pics are beautiful.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Homemanager said...

Great post, Candy! Thank you for encouraging this part of the body. :o)

At 5:52 PM, Blogger candyinsierras said...

Thanks Karen for visiting!

At 6:12 AM, Blogger Catez said...

I didn't see this post when I popped in yesterday - it reflects what I was meditating on before I came to the computer today (not the specific controversy you mentioned but the attitude of heart). You have put this very well I think.

At 10:36 PM, Blogger candyinsierras said...

Thanks Catez. I have been thinking about this lately also.


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