if you see a brother or sister online (even if they’re a total stranger to you) engaging in behavior or espousing ideas that seem contrary to your view of clear biblical teaching, here is a proven and rigorously practiced method for providing them with accountability and ultimately bringing them to repentance. but remember, sequence is important in order for it to be biblical:
- TWITTER: fire off a few suspicious, even pre-judgmental and leading tweets (e.g., “looks like i was right about [insert name]. have you seen this? [insert shortened link]” or “so sad to see [insert name] totally abandoning the faith. glad i unfollowed [him/her] a year ago”). this will show your clear concern for their spiritual well-being and restoration right from the get go.
- FACEBOOK: if the behavior persists, post something self-aggrandizing on his or her facebook wall that’s essentially more about your rightness than their wrongness. this is a safe and detached way to not only demonstrate your impressive knowledge of theological language but also to properly and publicly distance yourself from their behavior.
- FRIENDS: if he or she still does not listen, go back to him or her with one or two facebook friends.
- BLOG: if the behavior continues to persist, it’s time for a full-blown blog entry. you should take this opportunity to liberally paraphrase, reorganize and add your own layer of leading editorial to any quotes from the sinful brother or sister, because after all, they’re already wrong. so what’s the harm in really driving the point home by emphasizing the offenses (plus, let’s be honest, a little drama never hurt a blog’s pageviews). this especially works if you have a large audience at your blog who vehemently agrees with your general point of view (this way they’re much less likely to observe or evaluate the actual language or behavior of the sinful brother or sister themselves and they’ll just take your word or opinion for it). as shown in the many examples of shepherds mocking and shaming wandering sheep in the bible, a public shaming can be very useful in restoring a lost brother or sister to the faith.
- REPEAT & INTENSIFY: if they don’t respond to any of the above, stand firm. their friends and followers are bound to provide you with ample opportunity for practicing the enforcement of accountability. if those folks won’t engage with you, pester the sinful brother or sister with mocking, judgmental and hateful public messages, regardless of whether they ever directly respond to you or not. also (and this is key), your opinion of your rightness in judgement should be in direct proportion to your general meanness and aggression. this will certainly show the evenness of your overall mental state and help bring people around to your point of view.
lastly, and THIS IS IMPORTANT, remember that once you’ve engaged someone online with the intention of holding them accountable based on all or any part of this method, they are MORALLY OBLIGATED to respond to you. if they don’t respond, it’s a clear indication that they are indeed guilty of the sinful behavior that you have publicly accused them of. at this point, them ignoring you is the same as them ignoring the spirit himself and that should be responded to using any means necessary to discredit them personally and publicly (in order to soften their hearts and lead them to right behavior).
while it may be unfortunate that it has come to this, the reality is that while it sounds nice to just “love people,” give them the “benefit of the doubt” or even try to be generous in your reading of them in a medium as complex and fraught with misunderstanding as the internet, mostly that just doesn’t work. so it’s up to us, the righteous, to shame, bully, picket and even hate people unto repentance.
now let’s fire up our computers and smart phones, jump on our favorite niche theology blog or message board and demonstrate the same fearful, judgmental and uncharitable lives that we ourselves have been called to. because remember, whatever you do, even acting like a total ass, you should do it with all your might, as unto the LORD.