If in doubt, don’t.
I remember my parents often saying this to me when I was growing up. And although I have ignored it more times than I would like to admit, it has stuck with me throughout the years.
Now, please don’t take this deeper than its intent. I’m not talking about the battles that rage within us between God’s Will for our lives and Satan’s attacks. Sometimes we doubt when we really should be doing, but that’s a whole other blog post itself.
At the moment, I am talking about something that affects just about every person who has a social media account.
You know that impulsive rant, questionable picture, or funny post that may be offensive or taken the wrong way?
I’ve learned it’s just best to “don’t”.
Is it worth the likes we do receive even if it means we’ve alienated that person or group of people we have been working so hard to reach? Show love? Extend grace?
Do we really want to blow it all in one fell swoop?
Yes, it’s our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Yes, we have the right to say what we want anytime we want. Yes, last time I checked, it is still a free country. All of those things are absolutely true.
But here’s the question I have…is it worth it?
I can’t even tell you how many times I have posted something thinking it was funny or cute only to delete it minutes, or even seconds, later.
In a house full of boys, you can only imagine the things that go on here. Crazy things, politically incorrect things, gross things. Sometimes our humor is an acquired taste, borderline (and often wildly) inappropriate. Sometimes we take the frustrating things that are going on in our world today and make jokes to lighten the mood.
And I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve wanted to rant about Greenville drivers, Hellmart, or politics. The rude lady that ran me over in aisle 5, the latest controversy, or the horrible refs at my son’s football game. There are a million and one thoughts that traipse through my head every day, and they.need.to.be.heard, for crying out loud.
But do they really?
I want to be transparent, so I share a lot of real life. And I think we should all do a little more of that. But there have been many times that I have frantically typed out my thoughts (with perfectly placed caps, exclamation points and emojis, mind you) only to have that gut feeling the second before I hit “post” (or often the second after) triggering the internal debate as to whether I should share.
And 9 out of the 10 times I ignore that feeling…I regret it.
We live in a time that everyone is offended by everything. I get that. Sailing through life without offending someone is about as likely as a unicorn pooping rainbows. (or my youngest wearing underwear)
But we have a responsibility as Christians, as humans, to show love. We have a responsibility to show respect. If we can at all help it, we are to live and speak in a way that helps others instead of hurting them.
Are we to speak the truth in love even if it is the opposite of what the world is saying? Yes. Absolutely. No question about it. But nobody has ever changed his mind about anything because of a Facebook rant.
Save the rants and questionable pictures or funnies for close friends and family. Those with which we have relationship. They know our hearts.
Or don’t say it at all.
We won’t get it right 100% of the time, but as Wayne Gretzky (or Michael Scott, depending on your generation) said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If we don’t try to be kind and respectful, we won’t be. Ever.
So let’s try, because it is always worth the effort.
“An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Proverbs 18:19-21 NLT