To Argue or Not To Argue…On Social Media?

I usually avoid online arguments like the plague. 

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of arguments on social media are worthy. Things like ‘Is COVID-19 Real?’ and ‘Who is Keeping Our Government Accountable?’ and ‘What is Your Favourite Musical and Why is it Hamilton?’ 

Then there are religious debates. The place of LGBQTI+ people in the church. How to love someone through a moral failing. Women preaching and teaching. These are worthwhile topics to address, because even though they are controversial, they affect real people in real time and can generate helpful conversation. 

I follow a lot of arguments. I like a few of them. Sometimes I leave an encouraging comment for the arguers to keep on arguing. Because I believe in what they are saying. 

It is rare for me to step right in the middle of one. 

It is rare for me to step right in the middle of one.

But I did this week. Coz someone stepped over the line. They said—in public—that the work of a wife and mother is more valuable and significant than any other vocation. This came from a Christian man. 

And my blood boiled. 

I drafted a reply. Then I sat and re-read it. I redrafted it a couple of times. I prayed as I typed. I checked my own heart attitude. Why am I writing this, I thought? Is it for Steph’s Revenge? No, it’s coz of the people who might read the original post and be hurt by it. OK, carry on Steph. 

I did one more thing before I hit the posting button. I reviewed my reply for signs of judgementalism. Because I do not want to judge anyone else (even if I’m sorely tempted) in just the same way as I do not want to be judged. 

I do not want to judge anyone else—in just the same way as I do not want to be judged.

I posted it. Then I watched, curiously, as replies and reactions started filtering in. 

I ended up having a clarifying conversation with the original postee. Apparently he thought the work of a wife and mother was genuinely the most important work that can be done. He then said the work of a single and childless person was equally as valuable. I wondered if he was aware of the inconsistency in his own argument. (It wasn’t really clarifying, after all.)

The point is, I went into bat for my single and childless friends. Because it is never OK for anyone to put down or patronise my single and childless brothers and sisters in Christ (or anyone for that matter). Nope. Not on my watch.

It is never OK to put down my single and childless brothers and sisters in Christ.

If you have ever been put down, insulted, criticised, or in any other way made to feel lesser than your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, that is not OK. That is not Christian. Christ is the great equaliser: we are joint heirs with Christ, legitimate members of God’s family. 

And no one’s work or person is less valuable or significant than anyone else’s—least of all due to relationship or parental status. 

Have you ever been told your work is less valuable because you’re not married, or because you’re not a father or mother? How did you respond? How can we bring greater inclusivity into our churches so that no one is made to feel inferior? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation. 

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