The defense of one’s political and moral viewpoints has
become something akin to a blood sport in our culture. Social media sites and online
comments sections are especially brutal battlefields. Some attacks are so
vicious, so vitriolic, that the knee-jerk reaction is to respond with an equal
level of venom. Anything less, it seems, is tantamount to surrender.
end, little is accomplished by such responses aside from the sacrifice of
biblical principles. The damage that can be done in the defense of Christian
ideals and principles is staggering.
sets forth guidelines that sanction such interaction—guidelines that establish
civility as the bare minimum that Christians owe their antagonists.
hear the quiet words of a wise person than the shouts of a foolish king”
words are words that don’t inspire anger in others. Quiet words ease antagonism
and allow real dialogue to occur.
from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own
lips” (Ecclesiastes 10:12, NIV).
words acknowledge the worth of people with whom you disagree. Acknowledging
people’s worth makes it more difficult to insult or attack them later.
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and
lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my
Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits
you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same
way” (Matthew 5:11–12).
Sometimes being attacked for holding a certain view or
defending a certain Christian principle is a badge of honor.
“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not
murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you
are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone
an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse
someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell” (Matthew 5:21–22).
God holds his people to an incredibly high standard of
“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match
the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not
resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other
cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give
your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry
it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to
borrow” (Matthew 5:38–42).
Those who have experienced grace should be the first ones to
extend it. Leave revenge to the only One who knows how to repay evil.
I served as editor for THE BIBLE: WHY IT MATTERS TODAY which is published by Time Inc Books. This blog post was adapted from that title. This special edition magazine is published in the US and available wherever magazines are sold.