Tuesday, May 02, 2006
The world is much smaller than it used to be. A hundred years ago, most people didn't venture far from home. Communities built up around families that stayed in the same area generation after generation. Few people traveled to the next state, much less around the world.
But now. We can log onto our computers and chat with people who live in Europe or Australia or Japan. We don't have to wait for world news. It comes to us instantaneously through satellite transmissions. The world has gotten very small, and more than ever before, every man is our neighbor.
Have you noticed how most businesses and almost every person has a website or blog? If you want to find out about anyone, you can often google their name and locate some cyber-spot where they hang out. This can be a wonderful and amazing thing. Or it can open all kinds of worm-infested cans. And not just in terms of predators who lurk around the Internet looking for victims. Blogging has not only opened much of who we are to public scrutiny, it allows those people to comment on our thoughts and opinions. And sometimes this makes for hurt feelings and misunderstandings.
Many people use their blogs almost like diaries. If they're upset about something, they rant online. With private diaries, the person let off steam, felt better, and went on. But in a public blog, anyone anywhere can stop by and express an opinion on the blogger's rant. I'm sure we've all seen how that can sometimes get nasty.
I've set some rules for myself to keep my bloggerhood relationships friendly. If someone's posted thoughts upset me, I don't write a comment, especially while I'm still upset. Jesus said, "As much as it lies with you, be at peace with all men." I can't force others to be at peace with me, but I can set a guard over my own lips (and blog comments) and avoid stirring up strife. Likewise, I don't post on my blog when I'm upset. It's better to pour out that angst in prayer than to lay it open for the whole world to see.
If God judged me based on what I deserve, I would burn in hell. I desperately need grace, so who am I to deny it to someone else? When someone's post grieves me, I'm trying to remember to react by praying for that person and her situation. Not by blasting her with my words in return.
The world is awfully small. Let's love our neighbors, shall we?