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Don’t Add Fuel to the Fires of Online Arguments – Rick Warren

“Don’t answer fools when they speak foolishly, or you will be just like them.”

Proverbs 26:4 (NCV)

There’s a lot of negative stuff online. It’s never been easier to take to heart the negativity that you read on your social media feed and then get drawn into unproductive arguments. You just want to set people straight!
“Stay away from those who have foolish arguments and talk about useless family histories and argue and quarrel about the law. Those things are worth nothing and will not help anyone” (Titus 3:9 NCV).

God doesn’t want you to get involved in useless arguments. That includes those on the Internet. There are plenty of people just waiting for someone to challenge them online. They even go looking for arguments. But those folks use motivated reasoning, which means, no matter what you say, it’s not going to change anything. The Bible has something to say about people who live for the fight: “Just as charcoal and wood keep a fire going, a quarrelsome person keeps an argument going” (Proverbs 26:21 NCV).

Don’t add fuel to the fire. “Don’t answer fools when they speak foolishly, or you will be just like them” (Proverbs 26:4 NCV). Don’t let them hook you!

What people think about you should not concern you and does not have any degree of influence on your happiness. Instead, here’s what Jesus says you should be worrying about: “And I tell you that on the Judgment Day people will be responsible for every careless thing they have said” (Matthew 12:36 NCV).

One day, we’re going to give an account of every word we used on the Internet or our phones. That ought to give anyone pause before they post anything.

The Bible says that pride always causes conflict (Proverbs 13:10). Anywhere you find conflict, ego is involved. When my pride hits your pride, that causes conflict.

Before you go online, ask God to give you a good dose of humility. You’ll need it as you face the fire and make the right choice to speak in love.

Talk It Over

If you want your social media feed to be edifying, then you might need to make some changes to who and what you allow on your feed. What changes can you start making today?
Can you think of a time you said something online that you would not have said in person? Why do you think we’re willing to have this double standard when communicating online?
What do you want to say to someone who disagrees with you about any of the current hot-button topics? How do you think God wants you to respond instead?

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