I do a lot of on-line work. I write teachings that are posted as full-text and downloadable documents as well as audio recordings. I write, on average, five blogs a week that are available to everyone and can be subscribed to by email. I write articles for the web and for my ministry’s web page. I read a lot that is on-line and even subscribe to podcasts and other Christian and non-Christian blogs.
As a result I see a lot of downright stupid things. Things that are written that are simply from another planet or even another solar system. I read and watch comments that Christians make about other Christians and Christian leaders. It is always open season on Christian leaders or, for that matter, anyone who is doing something for the Kingdom. Every worker has their critics.
But, the most amazing thing is how quickly a person can come across as a total jerk. That is not a negative word or a cuss word but is a descriptive one. Jerk: Slang – “a contemptibly naive, fatuous, foolish, or inconsequential person.”
Here are some sure-fire ways to be perfect the art of being a jerk online:
1> Move from arguing the substance of a disagreement to attacking the person with whom you disagree.
I learned something the other day. This is called an ‘ad hominem’ argument. This is where you attack the messenger when you disagree with their message. People often do this when they know they can’t win the argument (if there was even one to win).
2> Assume what other people think and believe rather than asking them directly.
And state your assumption about what they think and believe, as though it were gospel fact, to others. And you do this without asking the person whose name you are dropping directly about what he or she believes or thinks. I am always stunned when Christians do this. Talking with others about a person’s writing or comment (and naming them publicly) without first checking with the person to see if what you think is actually their stand on the issue.
3> Write things to or about your fellow believers in Christ that you would never have the gall to say to their faces.
This is simply playing the part of a gutless wonder and a spineless coward.
4> Don’t read a blog post or an article or comment carefully.
Instead read “into it,” jump to conclusions, then go off or go snarky on the blogger or commenter. To be more specific, never ask clarifying questions about something you just read (such as, “Maybe I’m not understanding you correctly, but are you saying xyz?” Or …. “If what you are saying is true, what is your response to abc?”) Nope! Just lay into the person after you have ‘read into’ their post or comment. Ask no questions in a gracious manner, only make statements and accusations.
5> Write something online when you are angry or your feelings have just been hurt.
Give no time to bring it to the Lord. Stone that angel who is telling you to wait because you are not in the Spirit. Instead, let your emotions control your reaction and then write them out for the whole word to see or read.