Friends... your words are amazing! Imagine what it was like to click on CTB&Me this morning and see over FIFTY comments! Thank you is not enough.
I've been online for over ten years now. During that time I have been an administrator of a popular emergency preparedness site, part of a Christian women's forum (which has now been together for ten years), and taken part in a number of homeschooling lists and forums. It never ceases to amaze me how people think they can type out something in the privacy of their home (or coffee shop, etc.) and have it not hurt the person on the other end. I have seen people crushed by such words.
I've received a lot of snarky comments in the time I've been blogging (it will be two years in August). All of them I've been able to laugh off realizing people are different. If you see I've deleted a comment it is always for one of two reasons... it is SPAM and leading you to a website or Blogger had a hic up and posted two or more of the same post.
This one, however, cut to my soul and caused great distress. I couldn't get it out of my mind, even at church Sunday morning. I had to wonder if others thought the same thing. This was an attack on my character, my honesty, and my credibility. If the person had sent me an e-mail and politely asked me that question, I would not have had to reply in such a public manner.
We all have certain parts of our life that bring great pain, where words hurt more than other areas. You can attack my choice of church, my decorating, my style, my cooking, and even my decision to homeschool. I have very good friends who do not understand my Christian commitment or my conservative politics but they are not subjects that can bring hurt (we agree to disagree).
However, Job's friends are never welcome. My family and I have had many people offer judgement about why we have suffered and sometimes... people just suffer. God allows situations in our life. Even when suffering is a result of our own decisions, judging is not the way to change situations. Everyone has areas in their life where emotions are raw and harsh words are like pouring salt in the proverbial wound.
I cannot watch movies about children who die or go missing because my first child died as a preemie. I cry when I see pictures of homeless children because I have been close to it. Words about "using the system" cause me to emotionally come apart for awhile because I have suffered greatly trying to get help from the system. There are areas in each life where a sign must be posted... "don't go there". Only the One who created us can walk that particular path with us... eventually bringing healing.
There is a blog I enjoy reading very much and I'd love to leave an inspiring comment. However, she does not allow comments anymore for the same reason I just went through. One person ruined it for everyone else by making a comment that destroyed a weekend for her... a weekend she had been looking forward to. I have also had favorite blogs end or at the least... had to go to a private blog... all because of people who seem to have no idea the hurt they bring to another person's life.
A blog, more than any other online space, is very personal. That man, woman, teenager... is opening up a part of their life... or all of it! Many bloggers, like authors of books, tend to be rather private people in real life. You are being invited into the most cozy and personal space to chat and exchange ideas... to know you are not alone... would the words you write in the comments be words you would say to the person, over tea or coffee, face to face?
I accept Cindy's apology but I hope she realizes (before making such comments elsewhere)... words have consequences. No longer is this blog a safe place for me to share with others how God has brought us through great trials... to show what amazing ways He helps us live beautifully with little money... and how we can be more prepared for those storms in life.
There will always be a memory of the pain just a few words, most likely typed out without thinking, brought this past weekend. Once words are spoken, they cannot be taken back... whether they be criticism or gossip.
However, life giving words, like those waiting for me this morning... bring life and renewed hope. May your words today be those which edify, lift up, and bring renewed strength to fellow sojourners who are trying their best to finish the race with grace.