A Plea for Unity
We’ve all heard it – technology is a double-edged sword. And there is no bigger technology breakthrough in recent years than the Internet. The Internet revolution has its great advantages, from instantaneous information dissemination to easy entertainment. But the disadvantages are prevalent as well. Our keyboards can be large megaphones reaching the far corners of the world. Email, blogs, and text messaging are all extensions of the tongue. And Scripture has some pointed words about the tongue. Proverbs 12:18 says that a rash speaker pierces with his words like a sword, yet the tongue of the wise brings healing. James tells us that the tongue can be tough to tame and full of restless evil.
I can’t imagine life without a tongue, nor can I imagine a day without access to email. I get symptoms of withdrawal if I go half a day without checking my inbox. It is indeed a great tool of efficiency. Email, blogs, and other quick-info-senders also can become tools of restless evil. And this malevolence has crept into our churches. It’s very easy to send a quick quip, barbing someone via email, or jousting though the blogosphere. It seems the age-old problem of disunity within churches has spilled into Internet hinterland.
The electronic era is in full swing. In fact, 56% of Americans report that they spend at least up to an hour a day glued to the screen of glowing pixels. Youth ministers now have to become proactive about seeking out info that their students put on their personal websites. It can be disheartening to see what they place in the public domain. And I have read blogs by pastors and other church leaders that are downright venomous. These leaders are throwing electronic grenades simply to prove their point.
While many are using this newfound technology for good, there are a wide variety of people within the church causing envy and strife. The apostle Paul pleaded with the Corinthian church that they would be unified with no divisions. I assure you that his letter did not become irrelevant with the advent of our post-modern time. If anything, his words are needed now more than ever.
Sometimes dirty laundry needs to be aired. Sometimes the public needs to know the dirt. Sweeping something under the rug can be just as bad as blabbing it to the world. But one of the main goals of the church is unity. We must exemplify this unity. How will the world ever see Christ in us if all they read about on the Internet is the amount of infighting we have?
Differences must be worked out, but we also stand together. We are to stand firm, a unified body of Christ. And what greater testimony than a church that has come together for the purpose of God’s glory!
One of my church members emailed me last week. He was encouraging me about my sermon on humility, and he wanted to add one point. Contained in this email was a quote that I will share with you. He said, “Don’t ever look down on someone unless you are bending over to give them a hand up.” If only this attitude pervaded our churches and what Christians type, text, blog, and email everyday.