Did you hear that people were paid to make up comments on Amazon? As though using corporate funds to mess deceitfully with another person’s marketing isn’t bad enough, there are people who form essentially anonymous accounts to leave critical and even nasty comments. It’s heartbreaking–not the criticism but the pains taken and inflicted because those letters could stand for anyone in a haunting and disturbing fashion.
Let’s not lose hope and let’s not leave writing. Let’s ponder this a little together.When God created the world, He allowed for a variety of human shapes. Faces are commonly so unique you might be able to pick out a baby picture of a celebrity. So that when God created the world and mankind within it, when He established that it was not good for man to be alone and instituted society as well as its building blocks, recognizing the other was a natural feature. Could there be strangers in paradise? I don’t know, but that stranger would use external things–like words and facial expressions–to communicate.
I don’t think it is a stretch to say society works by means and those means include externals like words and facial expressions.
On one hand, I’d love for words to stand alone. On the other, when they seem a front for a surge of scorn or hatred, I am reminded that out of the heart of man comes “evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19 ESV). Minds can bear evil. Hearts can spew evil. Bodies participate and even seek evil. Our words do too.
False witness and slander, sure, are legal words, but reputation is as much a matter of word-of-mouth as anything else.
I think it is unnatural to offer anonymous criticism. It is otherworldly in a very negative sense. It distances the exchange from reform or any form of response! Just about all it can do is cause harm.
I’ll admit it. I think family and friends are the first circle who ought to provide criticism. They can try to know the individual well enough to respond to a piece in a way that can heard. In publications, next there are editors and, through CPH, doctrinal reviewers. Authors cannot write in such a way that they can perfectly edit themselves so there are systems to help.
Please, if you are burdened with an urge toward perfection, know that God calls people to love and serve you, no matter your faults. If you have sinned, seek forgiveness. If you suffer, may Christ take that suffering and join it to His own. It stinks to be a sinner in a world full of sin and sinners. It is a very real thing to be “sinned against” and exactly what all that includes is less revealed than those sins we commit from our hearts.
Anonymous forums are dangerous territory. As my friend would say, “Gird your loins.”
I wonder what else we could learn to say to ourselves. Maybe, “I’ve started [or added] to the conversation” or “This book just isn’t what that person wanted it to be.” To add a lightening note, as a wise Facebook meme once reminded, “Not everything can be pizza.”
If you have any sage advice, or words of comfort to share, please do so in the comments.