It's about being mean. I keep seeing it all over online and it truly troubles me. It especially disappoints me when I see it from fellow Christian bloggers.
Now I'll be the first to admit that I am guilty of an insult spoken in anger or irritation, or a snicker with a friend when somebody does something silly, or foolish. And it's not right, and I need to work on it. But I do try in earnest to be a kind person. I know how self-conscious I can be, and how it stings to think other people might be judging me, or making fun of me.
For the past few months I have seen too many posts that I can only categorize as mean-spirited. I'm not talking about venting on your blog because you have a personal conflict with your neighbor, or you got in a fight with a co-worker, or somebody wronged you and you need to get it off your chest by blogging about it. I'm talking about being mean. Not good-natured teasing, or being funny, but just down right mean. Posts that mock someone else, or a group of someone elses. People that are real, actual people. People who have their own trials and triumphs, their own families who love them, and whom they love back - real people. Not characters in a book or a show, but fellow members of the human race. They feel. They have joy, they have heartache, they are trying just like you and me to make their way in this world and find contentment. Some might not be too bright. Some might not be too attractive. Some might have poor hygiene, and wear really ugly, unflattering clothes. But so what? I don't know why they dress that way, or don't take better care of themselves. Maybe they're too poor to shop at the stores you and I do, or maybe they're just too depressed to care, and it's all they can do to even get dressed at all. Maybe they grew up in foster care and were never in good homes and taught how to properly care for themselves. I don't know their story, so who am I to ridicule them? Especially in such a public forum as a blog? It opens it up for more people to pile it on through comments, as they feel the need to get in on the action and make fun too. It's called "mob-mentality", and people feed off it and join in the fun of making fun. Isn't that what we call "bullying" when we're referring to what happens with kids?
I've seen posts ranging from mocking complete strangers that someone crossed paths with, to calling out people they actually know for having an ugly house or yard. I wonder how it would make me feel to go online and come across a blog that had a picture of me posted, or a picture of my house and yard, and was making fun for all to laugh at, and join in the ridicule? As I've had these thoughts, it's made me reflect back on my own blog, and question whether I have been guilty of this type of unkind behavior. If I have, I sincerely apologize to whomever I may have directed that unkindness toward (whether they ever saw it or not, I'm sorry).
The most recent one I saw was sort of the final straw for me: I read a blog last week who's author had taken the local "born in 2011" newspaper insert, and proceeded to make a list (including running mean commentary) of, in her words, "the best of the worst" baby names that people in that small community had named their children last year. I noticed in the comments a person who happened to actually be the older sibling of one of the babies whose name was made fun of, questioning the use of this blogger's time in ridiculing her parents. Do you think this blogger felt bad, or apologized? She didn't, instead she responded with a sarcastic remark, and again proceeded to make fun of the name of this woman's little brother. I felt sickened. And also a little betrayed that this blogger is a "Christian".
"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another" ~ John 13:34
Regardless of religious affiliation, we all share a bond called womanhood. We all have at least some common threads that connect our hearts. Whether it be the joys and heartaches of motherhood, the struggle to conceive a child, the pain of losing a child, the journey of marriage, or college, or our career paths - we all share a connection by virtue of being women. I don't care what the feminists say, there is something unique in our characters as women that connects us. So wouldn't our time be better spent by building each other up, instead of tearing down? Couldn't more satisfaction come our way by warming each others hearts rather than joining together in laughing at the expense of someone else?
Again, let me make it clear that I in no way view myself as perfect. I'm certainly not always as kind as I could be, and I have many, many more flaws that I need to work on. I absolutely don't think the people that wrote these things are horrible people. I'm very certain that they do much good in their lives. But this meanness is something I just couldn't witness anymore without saying something. And I have made a commitment to myself (and now to you since I'm putting it in writing!), to be more mindful of the things I publish on my blog.
I learned a song when I was a little girl in primary, and my children have learned it themselves. It is a simple song meant to help young children learn an important principle, but I find that as an adult I can still benefit from it's sweet message:
I want to be kind to everyone,
for that is right you see.
So I say to myself, remember this:
Kindness begins with me.
I'm linking up here: