Heat crept up my face and shame covered me like a blanket as I realized that my hasty words were more than a mere faux pas.
In my frustration over the glaring differences in the Croatian medical system, as opposed to what I had always known, I had angrily typed out a blog post, aired the reasons why I had felt justified in my anger and hit publish.
Some days later, after I had sufficiently cooled down, I remembered that several friends in my church read my blog.
Putting myself in their shoes, I realized that had the tables been turned and I still lived in the States…and an immigrant had published a blog post titled, “Top 10 Reasons Why America Sucks”, I probably would have been very offended – even if a few of their points were valid.
It’s just not in good taste.
I erased the post and in its place published an apology – to which a friend of mine commented with her thanks for my apology. I was right – I had offended a friend with my hasty words.
How many Facebook statuses or Tweets have we hastily written and deleted?
If only it were that easy to take our words back. Right? Either written or spoken, words cannot ever be really taken back. They live on in the hearts and memories of those who read and heard them. And while they may forgive, and while the memory – with time – may cease to sting…they still live on.
The fact is, words are forever.
This is why the Bible repeatedly urges us to guard our tongues, not speak hastily, and season our words with grace and love – because…as the Bible also says,
As writers, we often turn to writing as therapy. When we experience pain or frustration, we often find that writing reveals answers and brings healing.
We also use writing as an outlet to express our deep thoughts, emotions…and just about anything that rolls around in our heart and mind.
We read an article, and one word (or the whole thing) inspires us to write our thoughts on that subject: pro or con.
Honestly, this isn’t such a bad practice. I’ve done it myself a number of times. Countless times. Some of my best articles have been in response to something I’ve read or heard. Even in response to negative comments to my own work.
Its funny, because as I would begin to process my thoughts in an article, I would end up resolving my own tangled emotions. So, it was not only constructive for my readers, it was helpful to me as well.
But, as we share our hearts, lay our emotions bare, write from the depths of our souls, may we remember that the words we write – while they may be able to be erased from the blogosphere – cannot be erased from the hearts of the reader.
Over the past year and a half, I have grown concerned as I have watched writers divide over hasty words, readers divided into opposing camps, and Facebook wars ensue over someone’s thoughtless statuses.
It’s needless and nonproductive.
The Proverbs say: “If you have been foolish in exalting yourself [because purposefully writing offensive words are most often rooted in pride], or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.For as the churning of milk produces butter, and wringing the nose produces blood, so the forcing of wrath produces strife.”
Three Things You Need to Consider Before Hitting Publish
1. May my writing encourage and inspire
2. May my writing bless and offer hope
3. May my writing challenge and yet not bring pain
Dear writer – Matthew 5 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Even in our confrontation, may we seek to bring peace. May our words be seasoned with grace and love. May they unify and edify the body. May they challenge the reader to a deeper walk with the Lord.
1. Link up as many posts as you’d like (even giveaways!)
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