We Are the Light of the (Cyber) World: Let’s Act Like It

Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly...online


Dr. Ed Stetzer wrote a post not too long ago declaring that we are a sent people. He reminds us that Jesus “is calling for those who will go into their neighborhoods and communities to bring the liberating and reconciling message of Jesus.” To this, I say, “Amen!”

I would add that this calling must include our cyber world, as well.

Jesus gave us his command to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to be and make disciples. He knew full well that one day, centuries down the road, our physical realms would expand into an internet age full of strange new words like “GIF,” “emoticon,” and “tweet.” The unfortunate reality is that in this time when people are more connected than ever before, more people are engaging in internet trolling and cyberbullying.

If you’re not familiar with the terms, an internet troll is a person who intentionally posts inflammatory, divisive, or otherwise upsetting messages and comments online with the goal of inciting quarrels and provoking emotional response. A cyberbully is an individual who attacks another person or people group directly, using shame, threats, and intimidation.

According to a recent study conducted by YouGov, 28% of Americans admitted to online “trolling” activity. The same survey showed that 23% of American adults have maliciously argued an opinion with a stranger, and 12% admitted to making deliberately controversial statements.

Most of us have witnessed this type of behavior. A new Pew Research Center survey found that 41% of Americans have been personally subjected to harassing behavior online, and even more (66%) have witnessed these behaviors directed at others. Nearly one in five Americans (18%) have ...

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