I’m coming out of my normal hiding place to make a few comments.
The internet is a strange place. It is often a wonderful place, a helpful place, a unifying place. But it is also alienating, cold, and is the perfect medium in which to depersonalize others.
Through it, I have seen people reach out to help strangers in need, to offer prayers and kind thoughts to ailing friends of friends. And through it, I have likewise seen ever surprising cruelty that goes beyond rudeness, venturing into the ugly and hateful.
I find it so interesting to read Facebook and Twitter updates, because people use their freedom of speech to emote about all manner of things. Among my friends and acquaintances are political conservatives, moderates, and liberals. They are Christian, decidedly not Christian, and decidedly undecided. Full quiver, no quiver, vegan and meat loving, school teachers and home educators, people from every era and corner of my life are represented there.
I do not always agree with their comments.
I do not always agree with their lifestyle choices.
I do not always agree with the ballots that they cast.
But I will never elevate my own desire to be “right” over your desire to just be.
No matter how eloquently I may speak, without love, I am a clanging cymbal. And so, my mission is to be encouraging and loving in every online interaction.
Why is it so much easier for some people to be charitable face to face than it is for them to be that way in the anonymous blogosphere? I understand that when a person creates a blog, he or she invites a certain level of public scrutiny and criticism. But why does the very semblance of human decency cease to exist when one is hiding behind a pseudonym? If I were your neighbor, your co-worker, your high school honey, would you feel quite so comfortable calling me an idiot and taking joy in my suffering? And would I deserve such contempt simply because I dare to disagree with your political leanings?
There can be peace, even among those who must agree to disagree. This is not some wishy-washy surrender to moral relativism, but a real desire to live at peace with all people, as much as it depends on me.