The Danger Behind Blogs

December 17th, 2013

I should probably stop reading blogs.

That’s a pretty unusual statement coming from someone who writes blogs.

But it’s true. Reading blogs can be dangerous, at least for me.

Let me explain why.

According to at least one internet source, the term “blog” (short for weblog) was first used in 1999. But while the term “blog” is a fairly new invention, blogs themselves are not really that unique. In fact blogging is, in its essence, much like journaling. The difference, of course, is in the access. In the past, people’s diaries have not been open for public viewing (at least not until they are dead). But the popularity of blogging has blossomed as a result of that very thing—airing one’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions on the internet clothesline.

I do it, and I’m sure that many of you do too, or you know someone who does. Blogging is fun, especially if you enjoy writing anyway.

Blogs are written about a variety of subjects. You can find blogs written on anything and everything. Some of the topics are serious. Some are trivial. Some are very opinionated and controversial. Some are rather ordinary and boring. Some blogs you read are written by friends. Some are written by strangers.

But the best blogs, well, the best blogs make you to think. They challenge you. They stir up emotions within you. They spur you to action. And that’s why I believe they are somewhat dangerous for me. 

You see, my mother used to tell me that I should be a lawyer. She reasoned that would make a good profession for someone who liked to argue so much.

She was wrong. I really don’t like arguing, or at least I don’t like the controversy. However, I do like being right, and I hold very strong opinions on, well, just about everything.

So, when I read a blog, you know, one of those really, really, good ones, the kind that circles the internet for weeks, the kind you see posted by numerous friends of Facebook, inevitably, I (like most people) will have an opinion on the topic at hand. The danger is when I feel that I have to share my opinion, that I have to prove my point, that I have to “win” an argument that really doesn’t exist.

I began to notice that this was a problem recently when I read a particular blog. Despite my strong feelings on the subject (a completely opposite opinion to the writer’s), I chose not to comment. End of story. Right? Wrong. I found myself thinking about the subject all day long. I formulated arguments in my mind, reasons why the writer was wrong, why I was right, justifications for my position.

That’s when I realized that I had a problem. This was a total waste of time. Why was I arguing with myself over someone else’s opinion? Why was I angry about something I read? What was I accomplishing by spending so much time thinking about how to respond to an issue to which no response was required?

Is the problem the blog? No. Is the problem with the writer? Nope. The problem is with me.

I am learning that my opinion is not always wanted or needed. I am learning that not everyone wants to hear what I have to say (and if they do, they can read my blog!). And I am learning that (take a deep breath) I am not always right! In fact, there are times when I am not sure that there is even a right and a wrong.

So, will I actually stop reading blogs? No. After all, many blogs are encouraging and enlightening. Some offer valuable information or ideas that I can use. The challenge to think for myself—even to formulate the answer for why I believe or feel a certain way—is not a bad thing.

Will I stop commenting on blogs? Probably not. As a writer, I think it’s nice to get feedback (albeit positive feedback is much nicer than negative feedback). Still, I think I will try to curb the desire to have a response for everything. Romans 12:18 reminds us “If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people.” That being said, I think I need to exercise more wisdom in determining if (and how) I should comment. My aim should not be to incite an argument.

But just not commenting is also not the answer if I obsess about it the rest of the day. Instead, I need to learn to read, reflect, and then, either allow the words to change me if necessary or learn to let it go. If I feel very strongly about something, I can choose to pray for the writer or even message him or her personally, but I must do it in a spirit of love and humility not in an attempt to prove something.

Obviously, there are some things that God wants us to agree upon, and those are outlined in the Word. But there are many, many things that are simply a matter of taste, personality, individual circumstances, etc. While there should be definite, identifiable characteristics of God’s people, Christians (like all humans), do not have to look, behave, and think exactly alike. God made us as marvelous individuals, knitting us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). We are unique in so many ways, and blogs are a perfect reflection of our distinctiveness.

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