After several years of blogging, I’ve received too many unfriendly, hostile, and even threatening comments. While I trash them, I still read them and can’t help taking them personally. The one I got from Harold a few days ago, castigating me for criticizing the Pope in my last post, was unfair:
…Now you expect some magic wand waved by him [Pope Francis] to correct all that?? [he’s referring to clerical sexual abuse for which I never blamed Francis] Utter foolishness!! Piety is a virtue…check its definition and follow it. Which means your ‘grumbling’ about Francis is sinful. Amen.
Many scriptures are specific about the conduct of Christians toward each other, and naturally these must be applied to our social media communications. The apostle Paul teaches us to always consider each other’s relationship to God in our social intercourse:
No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29).
There is a spiritual unity between Christians that we must strive to preserve:
I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3).
We should also be mindful that our posts might also be read by non-believers and should be carefully written in consideration of them:
Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you should respond to each one (Colossians 4:5-6).
Before posting or commenting, suppress any anger or bitterness:
Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of a man does not accomplish the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20).
Even if a critical comment or post is justified, we are told to be careful in how we express ourselves:
Brothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct that one in a gentle spirit, looking to yourself, so that you also may not be tempted (Galatians 6:1).
Finally, St. James warns us that the tongue (or the keyboard) can be a “restless evil”:
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. This need not be so, my brothers (James 3:7-10).