Why is negative criticism so prevalent on social media? Why all the anger and resentment?

Who is it coming from?

The immature? People of any age who still think and speak as a child, without first thinking about what they are going to say and how best to say it.

The prideful? Those who think their intellect is superior to anyone who doesn’t see things as they do.

The self-righteous? People who come across as being holier-than-thou. They are known for being too judgmental and viewed as being hypocritical.

The wounded? Those who have experienced rejection, neglect, physical and/or sexual abuse for so long that they don’t trust anyone.

Do any of the above characteristics describe you?

What is Your Motive?

Is it to voice disagreement, even without a clear understanding of what the issue is, or why the person believes differently?

Is your motive to vent your anger? Get attention? Defend yourself? If something else, what is it?

What do you hope to accomplish by your response?

Do you want your words to be helpful, or hurtful?

Are you reacting too quickly, or responding after choosing your words carefully?

Does your response help to facilitate a better understanding of each other?

What Needs to Change?

Our hearts. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34c)

If you are tired of the chaos, hatred, and division among fellow Americans, you can help to change that, one conversation at a time. Every disagreement that takes place on social media is an opportunity to engage in a conversation that is honoring to God. Social media can be a means to healing in America if we take a few minutes to better understand each other.

In any healthy conversation, it’s good to have some common ground. You and everyone you respond to are created in the image of God. That is common ground.

Do We Care Enough to Listen?

There is a common need among people; the need to be listened to and heard without fear of condemnation. Why not ask people what they believe and why they believe as they do about the issue or concern about which you disagree? Then listen to their answer. Everyone has a story. If they are open to sharing theirs, listen closely.

Why not ask people what their source of truth is upon which they base their belief?

Ask why they believe that is a reliable source of truth. Then listen to their answers.

Share your answer to those same questions. Let people decide for themselves if either of you offer a trustworthy source of truth they want to embrace. As a Christian, I believe the Bible is the most trustworthy source of truth, because it is the Word of a loving God who cannot lie.

Don’t try to persuade one another to see things exactly as you do. Avoid attempts to control the outcome. Even if you disagree, that is not a reason to hate the other person.

Beneficial conversation begins with a willingness to listen to one another, without having to agree with each other.

What Choice Will You Make?

The United States is in trouble. We are not united. We are divided. We put issues before relationships. We give higher priority to being “right” and trying to get people to agree with us than we give to having empathy, compassion, and mutual respect for human beings created in the image of God.

Right now, at this time in history, every American has a choice. Will you contribute to greater division by responding with negative criticism to people with opposing views; or will you choose to engage in conversations that are honoring to God?

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Ephesians 4:29

Jeff Rosenau has over 30 years of experience teaching biblical principles that prepare people to become other-minded listeners and effective communicators, especially with people who have opposing views. He is the founder and president of the ministry, Christlike Dialogue and the author of Christlike Dialogue: Engaging in Conversations that Honor God. Jeff may be contacted at Christlike Dialogue.org to schedule thirty minutes of free coaching.

30-minute free coaching

Do you seek to become a better listener? Are you willing to ask questions of people with opposing views to better understand why they see things differently than you do? Would you like to see argumentative monologues replaced with honest dialogue? If so, we are offering 30 minutes of free coaching on ways to achieve those goals.