Friday, September 18, 2009

A Gentle Rebuke

The internet is a funny thing.  People tend to feel less inhibited--and often, a little meaner--when they are safe behind their computers making comments than when they are talking to someone face to face. 

I'm no different (although I'm proud to say that in the 2+ years of watching videos on YouTube, not once have I used the proverbial "you suck" comment).  But just this morning I received a gentle rebuke and immediate conviction that it is wrong for me to post things on this blog that I wouldn't be willing to say to someone's face.  Most of my "ranting" posts have been about general frustrations that don't necessarily apply to one specific church or one specific person.  But a few of my posts did criticize a specific person, and I regret that I did that.  I'm rather bad at that "be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry" thing.  I think I'm going to include a "be slow to blog about it" caveat as well.  

Thus, I've edited a couple posts to remove material that was critical and judgmental of specific people.  If I've missed something, please bring it to my attention.  In the future, I'm going to refrain from using specific people as the fodder for my frustration.  In other words, if I wouldn't say it to their face, then I'm not going to post it here.  And I trust you'll hold me to that.


Larry said...

Interesting issue. I certainly mention specific people by name in my blog (or did, when I was blogging). But only public figures are named (I hope!) and others are quoted or referred to very anonymously.

I do sometimes imagine myself being in a hand-shake meet-a-person situation with some of those I have complained very explicitly about. Frankly, in some cases, I would probably refuse to shake their hands. Although I have to say Obama's determination to give people every possible chance to respond honestly or responsibly is a very good reminder and challenge to me.

But I also remember Jesus' response to Pharisees (or whoever it was) who tried to scare him with the danger of Herod looming in the background: "Go tell that fox" where I am and what my schedule is and that I'm doing wonderful acts of goodness that he cannot even pretend to imitate (my paraphrase). No fear there, and not a heck of a lot of respect.

E. A. Harvey said...

Larry, in the instances I was feeling convicted over, I wasn't talking about public figures, but rather people in leadership in my church. And I don't think I've have the guts to really tell them what I was venting about in my blog, so I didn't think it was appropriate to let it all out here.

I do think public figures are a different matter. I think they can (and should) be called out when necessary. But I also think it should be against their actions and not their character, which is impossible for us to know unless we know them personally. Yes, Jesus called Herod a fox, but Jesus was sinless and His motives pure. Me, not so much. So I'm not sure that example gives us blanket permission to do likewise.