My heart is burdened.
After reading this article, http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/april/whos-in-charge-of-christian-blogosphere.html, a weighted feeling dropped on my chest.
I’ve been scribbling my thoughts and ideas for three years now. The time passes quickly and the way my fingers and brain develop thoughts continue to grow and form.
Recently, this article popped up on my Facebook newsfeed and I couldn’t help but be pulled by the title. The whole construct of the post was to point out the drastic misuse and misguidance of poorly handled words and topics especially in the Christian hemisphere but also specifically pointing towards the words of women. I clicked the post anxious to see what it had to say and I was glad I did.
The first piece of Scripture that came to mind as I read the author’s words were the warnings found in Matthew 12 where it talks about us giving account for every word we speak. I am not inclined to think that refers to simply verbal communication, but that of our nonverbal and written communication.
As a fellow scribe, I felt that the temperature of the writer’s tone elevate at a particular paragraph. The inflection of the voice carried a plea, a call, a bit of frustration, and started to brim with irritation. It is wordy, but bear with me. “The New Testament presupposes that church authority, hierarchy, and discipline exist to protect orthodoxy and orthopraxy. This responsibility does not cease in this age of the Internet. Orthodox church institutions that value scriptural and historical faithfulness have a responsibility to provide clear guidance to Christian readers and listeners who are seeking to discern which voices to heed in the din of cyber-spirituality.”
My first reaction to writer’s words was fear. Fear that I hadn’t obeyed and interpreted Scripture as I ought to. Did I dig deep enough? Did I try to understand before sharing my jumbled thoughts? Did I value the historical faithfulness? Was my emotion outweighing truth?
The snare the blogosphere, the Christian blogosphere, encounters is that we take the word of those sharing their woes, their opinion, their beliefs as if it were the Bible. This is not true of everyone, but as I read the article I felt a flare of shame of how I had mishandled the truth of God’s word in an act to either gain an audience or to be a people-pleaser. It is wrong.
I have also swung to the other side where I have read powerful stories and real-life struggles that, in a twisted way, I have elevated them to a position of high standing in my christian walk.
The motivational posts, the personal writings are all easier to understand than cracking open the Bible to Isaiah and trying to weed through the imagery of destruction, grace, mercy, and wrath of God. I relate to people I can see. I understand the time period that they live in because I share joint ownership in it. I can relate to the emotional turmoil a couple goes through financially, families going through a loss of a member, or just having a bad week. Their words cultivate a relational response and with ease I grasp their sayings as my lifeline, they are the examples of how I can get through life. But they aren’t the Bible.
In simple words, the writer of this article is effectively, in my opinion, communicating that the same standard of protection of God’s truth in the church and by its leaders should be guarded and challenged by the writers who have generated and cultivated a platform to share God’s truth.
Our foundation for writing and speaking is to be founded not on feeling but on truth. We are warned throughout many writings in Scripture to WATCH OUT for fools who allow their mouths to run to their ruin, and their lips to ensnare to their soul (Proverbs 18:7). Don’t trust that every Scripture reference used is handled correctly or interpreted accurately. Watch out for the painted verses on cups that are only made to make you “feel better” or help you “go through another day”.
Don’t BE the fool that lazily expresses thoughts and ideas that are just complimented with God’s Word. Be diligent. Accurately express the truth in verbal, nonverbal, and written communication. Let the responsibility of handling the word of truth be your standard. Let the responsibility to share the Word accurately weigh heavy on your heart.
2 Timothy 2:15
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
The last thing I want to leave you with is a quote I have found particularly helpful in writing. J.C. Ryle wrote:
“It is an extremely difficult thing to write simple, clear, perspicuous, and forcible English…. To use very long words, to seem very learned…..is easy work. But to write what will strike and stick, to speak or write that at once pleases and is understood, and becomes assimilated with a hearer’s mind and a thing never forgotten–that we may depend upon it, it is a very difficult thing and a very rare attainment.”
God’s word is difficult at times to understand, but it has stood the test of time. It is a heart-breaker and a life-transformer. Be wise. Find out Scripture’s meaning, study the words that were God-breathed and written by the hands of inspired men.
I hope the article wrings your heart as much as it did mine. The blinders are off. Let’s get to work.