Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; (2 Corinthians 5:11a KJV)
I want to make a plea—hopefully a persuasive one—to my fellow ministers for us to consider how we interact with those with whom we disagree. I will be honest, I have seen some very poor examples in the last few years. I have seen examples of how not to interact with people with whom I disagree.
We have all had friends in the church (parishioners and preachers) that have taken directions with which we have disagree. Some of those friends have been more notable than others. Regardless of their position or notoriety, there is a proper, Christian was to do it. If we really believe that someone is going the wrong direction, our first responsibility is to persuade them. Our blog text reminds us of this sober responsibility. If we believe someone is straying from the truth, and knowing the terror of the Lord, we should seek to persuade them of their error.
Brothers and sisters, the goal is to persuade. It is not to belittle or betray. I know that there is a natural impulse to be angry and disappointed, but we cannot allow those sentiments to control how we react. I must insist that we persuade no one—either the person themselves or observing outsiders—with condescending and demeaning speech. This kind of response is unbiblical an off putting. IF your goal is to persuade people with the truth, then do not blog or preach with anger and vitriol. IF your goal is to persuade people with the truth, then do not make your response emotional or personal. IF your goal is to persuade people with the truth, then you will be more effective if you argue your point scripturally and limit your comments to the issues. I have seen very few stick with the issues. There are a number of reason why they don't, but that is a blog for another time.
If you think you have the truth, then use it. The truth, not anger and condescension, is the only effective weapon you have against error. Any weapon other than truth will be weak and ineffective.
Don't be petty; be persuasive!