Icky Internet Opinions

yucky-gross-face“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” the Bible says, and I believe it. (Proverbs 27:17.) Getting things right is important and that’s one of the reasons I try to stay open to hearing things from people I might not agree with.

How the opinion is stated is as important as what is said, though.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. … [S]peaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:2, 15.)

Opinions stated with gentle patience are easier to take, even if they run contrary to what I might think, and can help me understand better. When they are said graciously, they are downright tasty:

Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24.)

But if what I read makes me feel icky – whether in content or tone – then it might be a strong signal I need to stop reading. I don’t need to read “a harsh word [that] stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1.) I need to avoid such words.

So I do.

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15 Responses to Icky Internet Opinions

  1. Pastor Bob says:

    I cannot express the frustration I have experienced when:
    1) the person who disagrees resorts to insult
    2) the person who disagrees changes the subject
    3) the person who disagrees is sarcastic
    4) the person who disagrees is rude
    5) the person who agrees is rude
    6) the person who agrees supports his/her position with non-facts
    7) both sides make opinion as important as facts
    8) both sides have little in the way of supporting facts
    9) debate dissolves into silly bickering

    Two televised debates years ago, one on gun-control (no opinions now) the other in a minute.
    These two kept interrupting each other. The moderator had a bias, but tried to keep some civility. A bit hard to watch.

    The other topic was the “rapture issue.” Two pastors / scholars who opposing views on this. The politeness was a STARK contrast to the first debate. Intensity was apparent, but courtesy was the rule.

    Would that we exposed to more of the second, PICK THE TOPIC – courtesy seems to have faded. We can fix this, even non-believers have grasped this.

    • Tim says:

      The right way to debate was exemplified by Gk Chesterton and GB Shaw. They’d go at it hammer and tongs on stage with their facts and well-reasoned opinions, then go out to dine together afterward.

  2. Jeannie says:

    That last point is important, Tim: that we may need to stop reading when comments turn ugly, either in tone or in content. There’s so much horrible commentary out there on the internet — some of it so personally attacking and mean, and sadly some of it’s from Christians. Sometimes we need to step in to defend someone who’s being attacked, but sometimes we just need to walk away and not be tainted by the poison.

  3. Ruth says:

    Well said Tim. I think some humour or a light comment can make the difference when a difficult topic arises, so does re-reading anything one feels like blogging BEFORE clicking submit.
    Typing a stinging retort, and then deleting it is one way of relieving feelings too, but it should still be within the bounds of good manners.
    I read a lot when my asthma is bad, and I find bad blogs leave me depressed and somehow anxious, so I open this or several other blogs, read something positive, and the world seems a much better place.😊

    • Tim says:

      I do the same, Ruth. If I’m reading a blog and start to feel agitated or unsettled I have no qualms getting out of there and finding something nicer to do.

  4. ezerkenegedo says:

    Really appreciate your post Tim. ‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. … [S]peaking the truth in love…’ – true wisdom to ‘blog’ by.
    “I don’t need to read “a harsh word [that] stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1.) I need to avoid such words.” – Can’t help but acknowledge at times I’ve enjoyed the blood rise in me in response to something wrong and the urgent need inside to right that wrong… but fuelling the fire can morph into a platform for me and my flesh, and I find I am undone.
    -Christine

  5. Opa Bear says:

    A very good post, Tim, Much needed. And very happy to see all the gracious and wise responses.

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