A Confession for Internet Writers

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

I Repent
of pretending to know more than I do,
of speaking without listening,
of correcting without caring,
of passing judgment without understanding,
of talking at people instead of with people,
of using words that hurt and do not heal,
of writing without grace, charity, love, and kindness,
of writing with arrogance and pride,
of being more critical than redemptive,
of presuming my words are more valuable than others’,
of uncovering problems without pointing to solutions,
of being more zealous for a system than for a Savior,
for I am a man with an unclean post, and I write among a people of unclean posts.

[Joe Thorn and Russ Rankin, "Confession for Theoblogians," 13 September 2005]

How often have we injured others without thought and concern for another person's soul? "Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will" (II Timothy 2:22-26).

Christians are to have a love for the truth. "Buy truth, and do not sell it, get wisdom and instruction and understanding" (Proverbs 23:23). But too often information is copied without thought of whether it is accurate, simply because it agrees with what we already believe. We need to check for ourselves whether an assertion is really a fact or not before passing it on to others.

Truth also demands that we gather facts before we make judgments. "This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God" (James 1:19-20).

Brethren, think before you speak.

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