There was some on-line furor in the past week regarding a pastor who behaved very badly and a waitress who showed poor judgment and a viral internet mob which demanded action without knowing all the facts and a national restaurant chain which now has a PR nightmare on its hands.
And I don't know that I have much to add to the conversation, except that it is so easy to forget in this day and age that internet actions have consequences and things posted to the World Wide Web aren't nearly so anonymous as we might like to think.
It's a sober reminder, one I bear in mind each time I come to this space to write. Because what I share here IS so very public, despite what my stats might say, and an amusing anecdote about a student or a colleague or a friend might not be so amusing to that person once it's shared with the world. There are real people behind the words, real hearts and minds and souls that might be touched or encouraged or hurt by the things I say here.
And even when I write about the things I'm learning, the ways God is teaching this oh-so-slow-to-learn heart to love others better, the small ministry I might do in my church and my workplace and my community, I must be careful - careful because these are not only my own stories I'm telling, but also the stories of others, and I must treat them with respect. This idea was treated so beautifully here, and so I won't elaborate more except to say that you should stop reading my words (at least temporarily) and go read hers. She speaks more broadly, of sharing stories in general and not just in cyberspace, and yet her insights are ever-more-relevant in the age of viral videos and internet mobs.
This world of the internet is one we're still learning to navigate, though those of my generation have grown up with it. May we remember, always remember, that our words and our thoughts and our actions have consequences, which is all the more true when they can be shared instantly with those on the other side of the globe.