How important is our online communication?
How important is our online communication? Can we communicate with fellow Christians however we wish? What about how we communicate with non-Christians? What about internet trolls?
The answer is simple, no we can not.
Well, according to Paul, professing Christians that are classified as “RAILERS” are to be listed along with professing Christians that are fornicators, idolators, and more.
1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a RAILER, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
What is a RAILER?
RA’ILER, n. One who scoffs, insults, censures or reproaches with opprobrious language.
(of language) expressing scorn or criticism.
synonyms: abusive, vituperative, derogatory, disparaging, denigratory, pejorative, deprecatory, insulting, offensive, defamatory, vitriolic, libelous, venomous;
The RAILER is easy to spot, their communication is aggressive, their comments are meant to demean, insult, defame, and ridicule and their intention is not to help build others up, but rather to destroy and revile them.
The book of James has much to say about how we communicate with others, or rather what how we communicate with others says about us.
1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Christian Reconstruction is about rebuilding all things upon a Christian foundation, and how we communicate in person and on social media is part of that. Not only should we be mindful to ensure that we ourselves are not guilty of being the railer as described above, we should also learn how to identify such people and learn what to do when we encounter them.
The book of Proverbs has much to say on this subject as well.
Proverbs 29:9 If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
Proverbs 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
Proverbs 23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
The “real world” and the “online world” are two pretty different places. In the “real world“ we are held accountable for our words and deeds, but in the “online world” the people we communicate with the vast majority of the time will have no “real world” connections with us. This means that holding people accountable for their abuses is all but non-existent.
So, what should we do when dealing with professing Christians that are clearly defined by Paul as a RAILER in an online world?
1. Ignore them and refuse to communicate with them. (Prov. 23:9) (Prov. 29:9)
2. Block them. (Prov. 14:7)
3. Remove them from your groups or contacts. (Prov. 14:7)
4. Leave groups that allow their behavior. (Prov. 14:7)
In short, we should be very mindful of how we personally communicate with others so that we reflect Christ in our speech and treatment of others in person and online.
We should also have no tolerance for those professing to be Christian who are railers, leave them alone, avoid them, and refuse to associate with them.
“Bad behavior” is not to be tolerated within the Christian community.