Personally, I think long and hard about what I release on the World Wide Web. Sometimes, I probably overthink my words. I pray about, edit, rewrite, and reread my words over and over until I'm absolutely sure that, when I hit "Publish" or "Post", it is something that will be helpful, and not harmful. (I've even been working on this post for a while.)
Sure, I could use cyber space to vent, complain or grumble, but I choose not to. What good does that do anybody, especially for people who are looking for encouragement?
So why do people, especially Christians, whine or vent on social media?
I didn't have to think long and hard about this one because the old saying says it well:
"Misery loves company."
We whine on social media to attract those who will sympathize with our "poor me" posts and justify our pity parties. But, as Christians, does that represent Christ well?
When Jesus was struggling with something very difficult, like going to the cross, where did He go to pour His heart out? Did He stand on the highest point in Jerusalem and yell, "I don't want to die for the sins of the world!" Did He go in search of those who would justify His distress and encourage Him in the flesh to not do what He was born to do? Certainly not.
Jesus went to the Father, alone, every time. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He took three of his closest confidants, but He left them to keep watch as He walked a little further to be alone as He fell on His knees in utter sorrow and distress battling between His earthly flesh and His divine purpose.
The only One who could truly settle the battle in His heart, and give Him the strength to press on, was the One He trusted with His fight - His Father.
I'm not saying that we should paint a rosy picture of what it's like to be a Christian, and never share our feelings. Life's hard! We all have inner struggles. But, when Christians display unchecked emotions, degrade people or other Christians for all the world to see, and invite others to join the pity parties, we are not displaying the love which Christ said we should have for one another, nor are we revealing His character.
It's easy to say things when we don't physically see the people who are reading our words, but it would (I hope) be a very different story if we could look into the eyes of those same people we claim to love and then say the things we post. We might would think twice, or three times.
Although I've failed at times, this is what I try to do. I picture the faces of those who may read my blog or FB posts, and I try to speak with wisdom, sensitivity, and love to their tender hearts. I try not to scold, or demean. I try to point my readers to Christ first, then through prayer, humbly share my heart.
Public displays of emotional distress can wound and hurt people - sometimes for life. Our cyber thoughts in black and white can be perceived in ways we never intended, which in turn, hurt us, and the One we love and serve.
It's tough not to share our hurts and disappointments with the world, but it's for the best, and it protects the character of Christ which is our character as Christians.
How can we keep our emotions in check and temper our cyber words with grace?
Here are 3 simple questions I ask before I hit "Send", "Post", or "Publish":
- Is what I've written truly helpful to anyone?
- Is what I've written helpful or harmful to the Body of Christ?
- Is what I've written lifting up Christ or lifting up my need for sympathy and/or approval?
Thank you for allowing me to share with you a little bit of Web wisdom I've learned along the way.