Although, just because I am not letting them flow, it doesn't mean that I don't have them brewing up in my brain. They just keep on growing and growing, and finally, it is a bit of a release to allow them to jumble on out and then form up with precision on the page or screen. It brings that order to my jumbled mind -- somewhat similiarly to the way I process through talking or conversing.
Some people (like my husband, Rylie) carefully mull over their thoughts and feelings and when they feel like they have it just right in their head, they are ready to share it with the world. Not me. Many times, I find that as I speak it, I realize that it's what I truly think/believe. Many times it's the process of talking it through with a friend or loved one that gets me to that center of thought. Not sure what it happens that way. Maybe there are a few different ways to process thought. However, I've come to see that my way of processing can sometimes be dangerous.
Without that careful and measured thought process like Rylie, I can get myself into trouble by blurting something out as I feel my way towards a complete thought. I've had to backtrack and apologize many a time for saying something that I realize afterwards was insensitive to my conversant's current situation. Sometimes I've said things that were backhanded compliments that I have wanted to capture and jam back into my mouth, swallowing them down and away forever. But that's the thing about words spoken or written publically. Once they are out there, it's impossible to take them back. We can't undo the hurt on our friend's face as we realize how badly we've wounded them; we can't take back the unholy screech we let out when our child defies our instruction for the third time in a row; and we can't erase the sting of untrue gossip we've repeated because it "was too juicy" to not pass along.
Proverbs 25:11 says, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." (ESV)
So, what is an "unfit" word like? A mealy, rotten, worm-ridden Red Delicious (the bottom of the apple barrel in my book) in a trash dump?
And today, as it so often happens on Bible Study day, Beth Moore addressed the very thing I had been mulling over this last week. She cautioned us about using today's social networking sites as a means to air our every thought and feeling. She reminded us of how changeable we can be in our humanity. What we so firmly and desperately think about someone and a certain situation may change in mere days, hours or minutes as we: a.) either receive other information, or; b.) allow God to change our hearts and minds. And, so, we should be very, very sure and careful of what we post on our status or on our blogs. Because it never, ever goes away.
I think a good litmus test before posting would be: 1.) Would I say this indirect thing I'm posting about someone or a situation directly to this specific person's face? 2.) Would I stand up in front of a group of my 200 - 600 Facebook friends in a live setting and say this thing I'm furiously typing out on my status or note?; 3.) Would I be proud of what I posted when my children read it 10 years from now? Would they be proud of me?
And if you're a Christian, then we have an even tougher code to follow in Philippians 4:8-9, which I really enjoy in the Message:
8-9Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
Yet, it's hard to respond with truth, nobility, authenticity, etc. when our minds aren't filled with those things. And in the world we live in, it can be truly difficult, no doubt.
You've probably read this cute prayer about online about this topic: "Lord, keep your hand over my shoulder and your hand over my mouth." I'll admit to praying that prayer many a time. And, I think it's good to ask God for wisdom in what we say, or don't say.
However, I also think that prayer should probably say, "...and help keep my hand over my mouth." After all, is it God's job to constantly follow us around to make sure we don't speak out of line? Do we really expect him to supernaturally push a mute button on us when we're about to say something we'll regret? Or do you think that he might actually want us to use discernment, to be slow to anger and rich in love, to exercise grace where it is not deserved, or even to learn from our mistakes? To even say or publish that thing that we shouldn't...but then to see and experience the consequences of our hasty tongues and then repent and ask for forgiveness?
I don't know about you, but I'm realizing that we shouldn't get so offended when people mess up. Why shouldn't they get to do what I do all the time? We're all flawed and broken. We're all saved by His grace and we should offer it liberally and freely. But, what is offensive and and hurtful is when people do not accept responsibility for their actions and words. I so firmly believe that to err isn't a sign of weakness, (and actually it's a sign of our humanity and need for God's mercy), rather it's refusing to go through the corrective process when we realize we're in error or someone lovingly points it out to us (notice that I used the word "lovingly.")
I guess I'm saying that we need to make sure that we don't use these new "platforms" to bash people over the head "in love" or otherwise. As my husband (and Beth Moore) pointed out this week, the internet has made everything so "instant." In days gone by, we would have to really think about something and then draft it in a letter or if it was a book, have an editor read and approve it. Now, we just feel a rush of emotion and run to the keyboard or start a rant.
Is that rush of emotion always bad? Not necessarily...sometimes for me, that's when my creativity flows the freest. But, should it always be published? Again....not necessarily. It's okay to write something and then throw it away or delete it...or even save it for our eyes only. Not everything need be shared with the world.
Rylie laughed at me (with me) when I jokingly threw down a WWJD regarding some of the inflamatory Facebook/Blog posts I've read (and maybe even written...gulp!) and the after effects. Would Jesus send out an apology status for his angry outburst and ask for forgiveness? Would he "de-friend" someone because they were a mean or hurt his feelings, or would he maybe just "hide" them? Would Jesus even be ON Facebook?
I have my own opinions about that, but until I can ask Him (although I hardly think those questions would be the burning ones I would want to ask), I have the Bible to reference. And, so I'll continue to go back to Philippians 4:8-9 and other scripture verses until that day comes. I don't know about you, but I really want to be "worked into his most excellent harmonies."