Beware of online pride: 5 tips to be meek, lowly and Christian online

By Ryan Jardine

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, May 16 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

1. Remind yourself a fellow human is behind the electronic screen and every word you write will either build up or tear down a son or a daughter of God. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland quoted from the Apocrypha in the April 2007 general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “The stroke of the whip maketh marks in the flesh: but the stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones.” The same could be said for the stroke of a keyboard. Our online weapons of war are varied and can at times be lethal.

2. In all your online communications, emulate the attributes of Christ. Be kind and be gentle. The ability to rise above the fray reflects “certitude, strength and serenity,” as Elder Maxwell said.

3. If you feel impassioned about a particular issue, wait at least 30 minutes before hitting the button to post, send, update or share. If your chest is tight and an urge to respond fills your heart like an all-encompassing fire and even distracts you from what you should be doing, wait at least an additional hour, or maybe even the rest of the day, and then re-evaluate before responding.

4. Ask yourself the following questions: Am I meekly making room for others or am I making a space for me? Am I keeping one of the greatest commandments to love my online neighbor and even my online enemy? Will another feel the love of Christ through my interaction?

5. Remember, when confronted with some of the worst that mankind could do and when afflicted with all manner of abuse, lies and invective, the Savior was often silent. And he ultimately pleaded for forgiveness in meekness and humility on behalf of his accusers. Is the offense you received online greater than his or should you too respond as did the Savior: with silence and forgiveness.

When looking at our online interaction, it might be helpful to remember the words of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf in the April 2013 general conference: “(W)hile the Atonement is meant to help us all become more like Christ, it is not meant to make us all the same. Sometimes we confuse differences in personality with sin. We can even make the mistake of thinking that because someone is different from us, it must mean they are not pleasing to God.”

By keeping this in mind and carefully crafting our online communications, especially with those whose opinions are different from our own, we will ensure that we are consistent followers of Christ — even online.

Ryan Jardine is a Brigham Young University economics graduate. He shares his often random, and sometimes quirky, take on "life, the universe and everything" at rytingchambers.blogspot.com.

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