In Matthew 18, Jesus sets out some good guidelines concerning church behavior and conflict.
“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector.”
Sadly, with the advent of mass communication and the treachery of the “Reply All” button, it has become increasingly difficult to follow Jesus’ prescriptions. It’s awfully easy for all of us (and yes, I’m including myself) to shoot off angry emails without giving them the proper thought.
When you confront your neighbor face to face, you can truly communicate because you can sense body language, facial signs, vocal tone and volume; all of these are flattened when black words appear on a white computer screen. And even though it’s harder, it’s holier to meet your neighbor face to face.