How To Engage Online or In Person

The internet and social media combination has to be one of the best and worst inventions. We’re roadkill on the information superhighway.

When you get hit by a truck, the fact-checkers will say it was a car. Or they will gaslight you when they say it didn’t happen. 

How can we keep up? We have to fact-check the fact-checkers, who admitted their fact-checks were opinions in a court case. 

https://nypost.com/2021/12/13/facebook-bizarrely-claims-its-misquote-is-opinion/

Jesus told us to be as shrewd as serpents, yet innocent as doves. He didn’t trust people because he knew what was in their hearts.

I turned to Proverbs for wisdom and proof-texts to push my point of view. Lady Wisdom punched me in the face. 

Right off the bat, I’m told not to be impressed with my own wisdom (3:7). Why does God have to call me out like that?

Proverbs 18:13 says posting or commenting online before listening to the facts is shameful and foolish. 

Unless your goal is to say whatever to start a fight, everyone commenting or posting thinks they’re right to some degree. The Lord examines and knows our motives. 

We have to keep a grip on our common sense and judgment. They keep us safe and steady (3:21-23). 

Intelligent people are always ready to learn, ears prepared for more knowledge. They don’t say, “I already know that.” Their cup is empty. 

Only simpletons believe everything they’re told. That’s the NLT version, by the way. The prudent carefully consider their steps. The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence (14:15-16). 

Am I saying we do or say nothing?

No. Proverbs 10:10 says those who wink at wrong cause trouble, but a bold reproof is necessary. 

God detests double standards of every kind (20:10). 

An open rebuke is better than hidden love; wounds from a sincere friend are better than the kiss of a foe (27:5-6).

Love is not a friend who affirms and agrees with you all the time. Those are called sycophants—a yes-man and a reason celebrities self-destruct. 

A real friend tells you when you’re wrong. They don’t support your self-destruction. But, in the end, they appreciate honest criticism over flattery, hopefully before they lose everything. 

Suppose you have a married friend who confides in you that they’re talking to someone other than their spouse, and it’s getting serious. What do you say?

“I can’t judge.”

Wrong. 

You can’t condemn, but you can point out the wrong before it goes too far. You may even have to tell the spouse if they don’t listen. 

What are our rules of engagement?

If you read my last post, you know the targets are ideas, worldviews, and spiritual darkness. Evil will be called evil. 

For starters, we don’t pick a fight without reason when no one has done us harm. Skittles over M&Ms? That’s a preference. If it’s an opinion that doesn’t affect you, then there’s no reason to argue. 

Proverbs has some unkind things to say about people like that. Like babbling fools invite disaster (10:14). So please don’t waste your breath on them (23:9). 

Avoiding a fight over nothing is a mark of honor (20:3). So who cares if they think pineapple belongs on pizza. It’s an abomination, but that’s beside the point. 

Kidding. I actually haven’t tried it. 

Remember, in court, the first to speak sounds right—until the cross-examination begins (18:17). That’s why diverse thoughts are needed. We’re seeing it with the COVID pandemic on the medical front. 

Cross-examine every thought in culture. And honestly, some are so bad you shouldn’t go one-on-one with them without an audience. I’ll get back to that.

Proverbs 26:4 says don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you’ll become as silly as they are. 

Paradoxically, the next verse says to be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they’ll become wise in their estimation.

Say something loud enough and long enough without opposition, and it becomes “truth.” Unfortunately, that’s an issue with the echo chamber of your favorite news source. 

Gauge your intellectual sparring partner. Are they or the audience receptive? If yes, engage civilly. See Tactics by Greg Koukl. 

If not, don’t throw your pearls before swine. 

Now, to get off our high horse with some questions. 

1: Were you more intelligent or wiser ten years ago compared to today? 

2: Are you the exact same person? 

3: What makes you think you can’t learn anything or change now? 

Stay humble, my friends.

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