Conversation CorRection Patrol

sticks her tongue outThis is part one of a two part article series: My mother always told me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all.  It seems that communication over the internet means you don’t need to look your victim, er, Facebook Friend in the eye.  Folks don’t seem to make it a point to be as uplifting and gracious as they are when face-to-face.  As I navigate the Information Super Highway, I often reflect upon this scripture, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29 A while ago, I had a little situation on one of the social networking sites.  I had posted an article and reposted some interesting things that others had seen fit to post.  I received replies from someone picking nits about the content.  I’ve had this happen a time or two before (I’ve seen it happen to others many times on the internet.) and always found it rather interesting.  I’m not going to name names or even the site it was on.  I post virtually the same things on all sites each day.  All I’ll say is that it was really just a case of nitpicking. The people who pick nits rarely reply to anything in which they cannot find something to disagree.  They are usually not uplifting in any way and most often don’t bother to put things graciously, but instead prefer to show everyone how ignorant the other guy is and how smart they are in contrast.  However, in my experience, the nitpicker isn’t usually seen as smarter or helpful, but rather as picky and condescending. If I disagree with someone, I usually find it best to send a private message unless I feel it’s something that will lead others astray.  In that case, I will be grace-filled and loving in my reply.  For example, I might tell someone that I “look at it a different way” or reply “in my experience…” or share that “in my research…” or “my understanding is…”  I will usually assume the other party is simply mistaken, not a liar.  I almost always gently correct if I feel something is just not so.  It’s always better, in my opinion, to tell someone they are incorrect instead of callously stating they are WRRONG or a liar. But I find that too many people on the web are unconcerned with being gracious.  And although Proverbs 16:24 says,  “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.“, I notice it among the Christian community as well.  I’ve talked about this before on the blog, in my articles and in my communication studies. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of a mood we are in.  Sometimes we are just in a contrary frame of mind.  Perhaps we had a bad day so we look at things and notice what we disagree with.  This provides many opportunities to Tweet and Facebook our opposition in virtual anonymity, a tempting prospect that allows too many to fall into nitpicking. Next week I'll share part two of this article, Nitpicker's Annonymous. Stay tuned!  Subscribe to this blog so you don't miss each weekly post!

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