Are there any topics that you find yourself arguing about and then regret it later? (mine are down in the second half of the post)
I find that with social media especially, I am always sticking my foot in my mouth.
Before there were faster methods of communication, reticence tended to save me from saying anything stupid, except around people in whose company I felt totally relaxed. Yeah, I got into ridiculous arguments with siblings, but nothing out of the ordinary. A friend and I had this game called the "random game" where we would just say the first thing that came into our heads. Innocent life before Internet...
Then came chatting via instant messenger, where it was just silly banter.
For emails and blogging, I would always take the time to choose my words carefully. In some ways I still prefer those forms of communication, and that's why I hang on to my blog here. Since I type on my laptop, the effort of powering it up and finding a quiet moment to sit down and write acts as a buffer for some of the crazy thoughts that are coming out.
But really, before social media, I didn't weigh in on heavy topics in a public way. And now I'll hit send without giving it a day to mull it over. Discussions move fast, and I wouldn't want to deprive anyone of reading my opinion on it...ha!
Seriously, though...there are times when I cringe seeing that notification that someone has replied to one of my previous arguments. Why did I write that? What was I thinking? What must people think of me now? And then I sit down and write another rebuttal...ugh! I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this...it seems like a new sort of addiction these days.
I don't necessarily regret the things I write. I own those words. But, I have to constantly remind myself that satisfaction in life doesn't come from knowing you're right and are able to enlighten other people. ;) Time and time again I'm reminded that the delivery of a message is important, and sometimes that means just not saying it. And also, I don't have to worry that someone will be lacking wisdom if I don't give them my superior point of view...we have the Holy Spirit to lead and instruct, and we have to trust that other people will get the message at the right time, too.
This evening I'm writing this blog post instead of delving into other corners of the Internet. By the way, I'm not on Twitter...it sounds stressful!
Here are a few of the topics I have commented on in the past without thinking...
-Abortion: That's a topic that can get pretty ugly. A few times I have seen quotes or statistics that I thought were convincing, and chose to repost. Pretty much got jumped on by everyone, Christians and non-Christians alike. I think it's pretty noble to publicly defend unborn babies, considering the current political climate in the U.S. But at the same time it is an emotional topic which deserves more consideration than a link to an article. And I wouldn't want anyone to feel condemned by anything I wrote. So, I do tend to hold back.
-Politics in general: Thankfully I can usually avoid commenting. I'm not that knowledgeable about politics. I honestly think people speak from the heart, but the arguments sometimes just don't make sense to me. So thankfully I don't speak up too much here.
-Parenting topics: Discipline, sleep training, feeding, etc. Parenting my two individual children is turning out way different than I thought! And I always feel the need to defend various parenting choices. For example, I'm always getting ads for "how to make your child eat healthy foods" telling me all about how with the right approach, your child will eat whatever is placed in front of him. Needless to say, with a child with sensory issues (and knowing that this is genetic), I don't appreciate reading about other parents' perfect success rates. And instead of just scrolling past, I leave a rant or two in my wake.
-Christian lifestyle: There are some interesting things going on in the post-modernist church scene. My husband and I have definitely relaxed about certain things as we realize we can't control them. Our previous church has already split up anyway and we're not as concerned with keeping people in or out of church, more trying to grow in faith with those who are in our midst. However, inevitably we'll encounter (in real life or a forum) someone who isn't there yet (if it's necessary to arrive somewhere)...or who is way more lax with doctrine than I feel comfortable with. I just don't write a lot of preachy stuff these days, because...it's preachy. The latest argument I got into was about whether or not Christians should consume alcohol. It's a big topic, especially to Slavic people! And yeah, I could share my personal thoughts, but I honestly think that the Holy Spirit leads people to their convictions about it. So, does it help to lecture someone in a forum? Probably not. And my role, of course, is to lecture people about lecturing. Right? Sounds legit.
-Other lifestyle bashing: Did you know my generation is doing a horrible job raising our kids? And other common criticism. So many posts about how we're on our phones all the time and not giving our kids enough attention. How many parents do you think slap their forehead thinking "you're right, I'll change what I'm doing right now!" No, usually there is more to the story, and motivation to change comes from personal conversations with our kids and other people, not from someone on the Internet pointing fingers.
-Grammar/literacy: I get nit-picky (how do you spell that?) about grammar. I know it's the Internet and no one cares, but it's like all I see is the mistake and I can't read the rest of the post. The other day a professional organizer on Instagram was talking about how all you need to have a cleaner house is to own LESS toys. LESS things, blah blah blah. I typed out "it's fewer" and was hovering over the Send button...and then I deleted it. Whew! Meanwhile, I've written several negative book reviews lately on Amazon, including one by a Christian woman with a great message. The book just wasn't well-written. I really did try to be gracious, because I would love her to try again or find her niche with writing. But, I had to be honest. And then our homeschool curriculum has some issues sometimes too and I feel like...if I'm paying for it, I think it's reasonable to expect good quality.
So that was my confessional for today. It kind of feels good to have that out there. It doesn't make me feel like a good person, because reading over what I just wrote, I realize again that I can be pretty judgmental. I pray the the Lord would help me find ways to debate topics that are constructive and don't tear anyone down.