Listen to correction, don’t mistake it for persecution…

Christian social media is a weird and wonderful place. I enjoy wasting time (far too much time!) scrolling through my newsfeeds on Twitter and Facebook. Everyday I see new theological discussions, new debates about old controversies, and sadly, I see people who are not acting in a way that is glorifying to God. Christians are humans too and often our words can hurt and harm people, and our comments and interactions aren’t always done with the right motives. But what do we do when we’re pulled up on it?

There’ve been a few examples that have come up as I’ve scrolled down my feed recently. I’ve seen something that shouldn’t have been said or argued and then I’ve seen someone engage in good Biblical correction. What follows can take two different paths; 1) humble acceptance of wrong doing and repentance, or, 2) adamant rejection of any kind of correction.

I’ve seen the complete rejection of correction take on this form “I’m being attacked because I’m doing God’s Will. I’m doing the right thing an everyone else is wrong” If you’ve spent any time on Christian social media then you will have seen it too. It’s part of human nature, I wish I could say that it doesn’t happen to me but I do it all the time. The minute we are corrected our knee jerk response is ‘no, I didn’t do that’ or ‘you can’t say that’ or ‘I know I’m right’. But sometimes it goes a step further…

Recently I’ve seen a number of people mistake Biblical correction (the calling out of a incorrect theological points, of wrong interpretations of Scripture or viewpoints that goes against the Bible, etc.) for persecution. Don’t get me wrong, there will be times when people will be against you for the wrong reasons, we are not called to an easy life. However, that doesn’t mean that every time someone disagrees with us that we are being persecuted for being ‘true believers’. There will be times when we will need to stand up and be vocal about certain things that will invoke kickback. There will be times when we will be pulled through the mud for holding to certain views and theological points. But most of the time people are being corrected because of unwise speech, inappropriate comments or interactions and out and silliness.

Why is this such a dangerous thing? It’s dangerous because if we take every little criticism or correction as persecution we make ourselves out to be the only holders of the truth. Refusing to listen can mean that we become blind to the sinfulness of our own hearts and think that we’re perfect. A person might not spell that out or articulate it in such a way, but if they think that they’re never in need of correction then they’re probably the ones in need of it most!

I’ve had people correct me in the past and it’s been needed. I often ask people to read responses to see that I’m saying and doing the right thing. My wife very kindly reads certain posts before they go live so that everything comes across in a helpful way. Corrections and criticisms aren’t reason for us to run away and proclaim our innocence, but they are an opportunity for us to reflect on our motives and our actions. The question that we should ask ourselves is “Does this (be it a post, a response or an engagement with a certain individual or school of thought) glorify God and serve the upbuilding of His Kingdom?”

If the answer to that is no, then we should expect and welcome correction because we need it.

Dear Christian,
Please don’t mistake Biblical correction as persecution because you’re ‘doing the will of God’ and you’re the only one who sees that. Instead listen to criticism, submit to solid Biblical correction and live in such a way (both online and offline) that glorifies God in every way.

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