This piece is written to those of you who write on the Internet about Grace. People who write about the Love of God. People who write to encourage others; to build them up, not tear them down.
I am a member of several online groups where people of the Spirit voice things from God, things new and old. Old widsom, and new wisdom. (Matt 13:52) Things for the building up of the Saints (Eph 4:12). Jesus Himself said that there was so much more He wanted to tell us (Jn 16:12), and this kind of publishing is part of that.
Much of this stuff is the prophetic Word of God for today, and you can tell by the fruits manifested in their readers that these words are bringing life to those that read them.
But there is also huge discouragement, and often even despair, for those who write. If you are one of these writers, you will know exactly what I’m talking about.
On your public posts, whether blog posts or simple forum comments, you are often torn to shreds by (sometimes well-meaning) religious people who don’t like what they read. The Scripture says that people would be offended by the message of Jesus, and this can happen for several reasons.
Mostly, though, the offense is found in the simplicity of the Gospel message; St. Paul simply preached Christ crucified. However it works, Jesus has accomplished all that is necessary for the way to be open to God, and He invites us into His Presence and to live our lives in the simple joy of walking with Him.
And this is counterintuitive. We humans naturally feel that surely there must be something we have to do, some sacrifice we have to make, something we can feel, think, do or say that somehow will make God more pleased with us.
But, actually, no, there isn’t. He’s already more pleased with you than you can possibly imagine! And that’s what is so offensive to people: that nothing they can do — or not do — will make them any more or less acceptable to God.
And so, I would like to encourage all my readers here today who write for Jesus.
People like me, who share regular blog posts containing what we believe to be the truth about God and how much He loves us, and how especially fond He is of us. People who write occasional pieces just expressing how they are feeling and how God is meeting them right where they are at.
Or people who just build up others by sharing simple, gentle encouragement, whether in online forums, blogs, or even just in gentle Facebook replies.
To all such people I would say this:
Listen: your posts are encouraging far more people than you realize!
You are blessing hundreds and thousands of people simply by writing your gentle words of Grace!
When I post on the Internet and my posts are attacked by the religious gatekeepers, modern-day Pharisees, or maybe just those who are secretly uncertain of their faith and feel that my words shake their foundations — and reply with violence because they feel threatened — I don’t let it worry me.
Because I know that my posts have been read by my intended audience — not the Pharisees, but those who are broken, hurting, feeling rejected by the prim-and-proper religious elite. Those of “different” sexualities. Those who have received abuse at the hands of people who should have been healing them.
I gently challenge the people who attack me, not to try to turn them or convince them — God will do that for them in His own time; indeed, only He can do it anyway — but to let those thousands of “invisible listeners” and “lurkers” know that not all Christians are like those people who cause harm with their harsh words.
There are indeed Christians — you are likely one of them — who gently manifest the presence of Jesus in their writings, and, to those bloggers and respondents who want to be Jesus to others, I would say this:
“Keep it up!” You are touching many more people with God’s love than you can possibly realize!
I will leave you with a comment that was sent to me by a brother in New Zealand, to encourage me about my website, VintageWorshipTapes. On that site, I restore and make available electronic recordings of old worship tapes from the seventies, eighties, and nineties. The comment still moves me to tears even now. Here’s what he said:
“One day, when we are in His Presence, you will find out just how many people were encouraged by what you are doing.”
Wow! And I think that’s today’s take-home message for all those who would encourage people online. Be blessed.
Tony Cutty is the author of the blog Flying in the Spirit. He works as a professional scientist as well as running his own small business. He’s also a pianist, worship leader, light aircraft Pilot, military historian and amateur astronomer. He has three grown-up children and two grandchildren, and lives in the south-west of England.