Definition of AD HOMINEM
1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made
There's been a lot of discussion around the interwebs about all sorts of controversial topics. Many questions being asked about foundational issues for christendom, and many extremes of responses.
There are many factions and subgroups supporting their own particular ideas, some fundamental/traditionalist, some very "on the edge" radical.
Its very important to discuss all these things - crucial actually, as we move into greater understanding of God's plan for all of mankind, his character, and his relationship with us.
But the BIG problem is how we do this - how do we discuss? How do we express our passion with respect? In our enthusiasm over what God is showing us we, way too often, completely tromp over others, kicking them in the teeth and using ad hominem (see above) attacks. This is human nature at its worst, and few and far between are those who aren't tempted to do it! I've found my cut-off point for grace on a few occasions, and launched out at people.
So most of us know about unconditional love, patience and long suffering, turning the other cheek etc., but I've seen way too many so called "grace" people exercise anything but grace. So here's my observations...
Most of us are normal emotional people with varying degrees of patience and at different stages along our journey, sometimes offended, sometimes loving and tolerant, but we know when we overstep the mark, and are willing to accept responsibility for our words. There is a wide spectrum of responses and reactions here and its easy to lose the plot sometimes. But when we begin to attack the other person's character to defend an argument we have crossed over into the "enemy's" territory! Yes, by all means be passionate, forceful, emotional, but just remember that we are all on this journey together, all loved by God - and we have no right to judge another person's heart. I've had run-ins with friends even, but friends know our hearts and should always realise relationships are far more important than doctrine.
HOWEVER, some people are completely blind to anything outside their current mindset (or paradigm) to the point where anything that challenges that is heresy, and they feel its their job to correct everyone else. They will not engage in honest communication, or even listen to anything that differs from their beliefs. This is usually the stance of people who use religion for narcissistic reasons, and christianity just happens to be the belief system that suits them best.
So what do we do with them? Its often hard to pick them until you have already engaged them, and then you have to find a way out, or it will only end in tears! These are the ones that I struggle with, and I think Jesus and Paul had no problem dealing these "whitewashed sepulchres". But we must always err on the side of love and grace. Give the benefit of the doubt until you know there is no light, then walk away, shake the dust, and go on.
Yes I'm preaching to myself as well, but lets do this together, even if you think someone is preaching heresy, take the time to find out what and why, find out how God is speaking to them, what's the basis for their beliefs, give them the same credit you give yourself and always assume Holy Spirit is just as capable of speaking to us all as He sees fit! See with Father's eyes, hear with His ears and love with His heart.