There is much ado going on in the Twitterverse in recent days. Someone wrote an inflammatory blog post whose nearly every sentence was insult after scathing description after baiting. Baiting the hook over and over, calling Christians with certain opinions name after name. Making comparisons that are absurd. And the foundational stream of it all was this–if someone came up with an interpretation of scripture that millions of scholars over thousands of years disagreed with, we should all just accept it. Or face the wrath of someone with a keyboard and a blog.
But that’s not my point. There will always be someone, many someone’s, seeking to incite. Seeking to poke you in the sore spot. Seeking to step on your toe, and when you look down, to poke you in the eye. Not limited to religious circles–someone is there just to throw a group into a tizzy. And laugh as the hissy fits abound.
My point–and my disappointment is this: WHY DO WE KEEP TAKING THE BAIT!?!?!
It’s called click-bait for a reason. An inflammatory headline, searchable names of every major name in Christendom fame right now, and inciting remarks. No hint of sharing love or Jesus or hope or faith. Just flat bait.
Let’s stop being stupid fishes. Let’s stop seeing the shiny flapper on the attractive hook. LET’S STOP TAKING THE BAIT.
Why are we so easily angered by people who clearly have no interest in a civil conversation? Why do we keep engaging at their level?
I am the youngest of three kids and the only girl. There was plenty of teasing and horseplay and sibling rivalry in the house. And it took years, YEARS, for me to take my mother’s advice and stop reacting. Stop taking the bait. The kicker was, I was such an easy target for so long, and the results of ignoring the poke weren’t immediate. It took a good while before the brothers finally realized that the bored reaction they got from me was going to be the only reaction they got from me. And so they moved on.
Amazing things happen when you stop taking the bait. There are “ministries”–and yes, I put them in quotes–that are based entirely on mocking people. It may not look like it at first blush, but as you read page after page of writing, or following their mean-spirited rants on social media, you start to wonder where the love is that they so demeaningly claim to demand from everyone? They spew names at people who believe differently than them–AND WE TAKE THE BAIT. We buy the book to refute the claims to write a response blog–AND IT ALL JUST FUELS THE BITTER, ANGRY, BAITING.
If you are really angry at the church, the Church, Jesus, God, pick a part of the Christian faith–and you really want to discuss issues, ask questions, I am all for it. Let’s talk. Let’s start by agreeing to disagree so we can get the trying to get you on my side issue out of the way. And let’s have a good old fashioned scholarly debate. Let’s cross-reference with scripture, with theological texts, with scholars. Let’s dig into the Greek and Hebrew. Let’s explore it together. I may never agree with you–but I will so love the process of learning how you think and what brought you there and how you are looking at things differently than I.
I love a good, well-intentioned debate. Especially when we both know we’re never going to agree. To me, that is the best kind of fun–let’s poke holes in each other’s arguments. But it has to be in good spirits.
Come at me with insults, and you’ll get a bored reaction.
Because here’s the thing. Jesus only got angry when his children were being swindled in the temple, the children were being kept from coming to Him, and the religious sect were mis-using and mis-interpreting scripture for their own gain. And in His anger–every single time–He pointed back to the truth. No name-calling, no inflammatory remarks for the sake of fame. He pointed people to God–period. He espoused the faith–period.
And when He was called names, He took it silently. When He was spit upon, literally spit upon, He received it silently. When He was accused of wrong doing where no wrong doing was done–He either calmly rebuked, or when His crucifixion was near, He said nothing.
It’s about time we start acting like Jesus. It’s about time we choose meekness instead of offense. It’s about time we keep our eye on the real prize, set aside these silly arguments, and stop jumping into the middle of dissension.
Let’s stop taking the bait.