Several times in the past couple of days, I have had the opportunity to participate in some good discussions with a few people. In those conversations, I was able to share some words of wisdom that believe were a help.
Last night, Sheila and I were relaxing in our easy chair in the living room. While we watched some TV together and continuing until after she went to bed, I made several comments to a Facebook group called "Seymour speaks out".
On Saturday night late (really, Sunday morning early), I posted a comment that was intended to get people interested in attending an upcoming event at the church. It is a sermon series and Bible study called, "The End Times and Revelation According to Jesus Christ" Here is a copy of my post.
There were two distinct conversations that took place in the comments section below my post. The first started out rather quickly. Two people were flaming me. They posted comments containing words of profanity that were later removed by the group administrator. They seemed to think that I was claiming that technology was a bad thing. My first thought was to reply right away, but I decided to sleep on it and reply the next day. Here was my follow-up post.
"(Names ommitted), my major in college was Computer Science, and I have worked as a Senior Software Engineer for over 20 years. There is nothing inherently wrong about using technology. What's bad is when an evil person or group abuses technology to do wickedness against some other person or group of people. Have you ever had your identity stolen? Your credit file destroyed? Money taken from your bank account? Do you like North Korea using technology to try to control what movies you can watch? The Antichrist will do something similar but much, much worse. He will use technology to prevent you from buying food for your family, fuel for your car, heat for your home, and other necessities unless you do exactly what he wants you to do and think exactly what he wants you to think."
My gentle words had the intended effect. One of the young men seemed to respond positively, commenting that the Antichrist represented totalitarianism. "Exactly," I said. He may have never thought about going to church, but I sincerely hope he will attend the upcoming Bible study.
The second conversation was an uncomfortable exchange by two groups of people who seemed to be at opposite ends of the political spectrum. There were several posts by people whom I perceived to be coming from the Liberal, or left side, who were critical about my original post or about my choice of sharing a FOX News article rather than an article from some other news source. When I responded by providing a link to another news source, there was a post by someone who was clearly coming from the Conservative, or right side. His words were condescending towards the opposing group. I had the distinct feeling that the participants were all waiting to see how I would respond. I decided not to wait long. This was my next post.
"Dale (last name ommitted), in the current political climate, I prefer to not be defined in terms of the labels 'Conservative' and 'Liberal'. I am a Christ-follower, and Jesus was liberal in his own right. If you need food for thought, the Jews in Jesus' time treated 'publicans and sinners' about the same way that some churches today treat members of the LGBT community; and how did Jesus handle the situation he faced? I'm not so sure that true Conservatives would give Jesus a warm reception if he were born in the 21st century rather than in the 1st century."
With seconds of my post, I got a reaction from both sides, and it was a positive one I think. I captured part of the conversation below and removed the last names.
I think it is important to treat people with respect regardless of their political views. A conversation can quickly spin out of control when we make statements like, "I know what you're thinking," because really we don't know. I think that I was able to defuse the situation and prevent an argument from erupting online.