Finding a Sense of Calm by Avoiding the Storms of Online Arguing

Whoever guards his mouth and tongue, Keeps his soul from troubles. Proverbs 23 (NKJV)

I have decided to break from venting on this blog and on any of my social media accounts.  I know, no one really cares, but I felt I should make a formal announcement nonetheless.

Before I continue, let me clarify, this is not an argument against freedom of speech.  I understand that freedom of speech is important.  This is more about a personal decision to remove myself from negative, non-productive online situations that interfere with the way I want to conduct myself online from this point on.

I will continue to write because I enjoy it and because it gives my brain something to do.  I just won’t invest energy in venting about the latest political absurdity that comes across my news feed.  Ranting, or even mildly pointing out the stupidity of someone’s mixed up political opinions, gets emotionally draining. Trying to explain what you believe, why you believe it, and why others are completely wrong (calm down, I jest!) is a chore that reaps very little reward except a blood-pressure-raising type of ire that is neither productive nor healthy.  No one is going to change their opinion because of some comment I post on Facebook or a post I upload on this blog.

To remove the temptation to toss in my two cents, I have unfollowed certain Facebook pages, unsubscribed from email newsletters, and reduced the time I spend checking up on daily headlines. This has helped to keep some of the drama at bay at least.

How did I finally decide enough was enough? I’ll be happy to bore you with the startling details below.

Another Stupid Headline

As is my habit, I was browsing headlines one morning and, not surprisingly, ran into yet another news story that I found particularly irritating and, somewhat, insulting.  It was simply more of the typical garbage spewed by some self-righteous celebrity who thinks that just because they’re paid to entertain us, we are then beholden to absorb their nonsensical claptrap.  (Okay, okay…that was a bit rant-y, but I’m trying to get it all out of my system.) After reading said headline, my immediate reaction was, “I need to blog about/Facebook this!.” But, then, a small, tiny voice from the unknown broke through and said, “Don’t bother.”  I guess this was the voice of reason? He rarely shows up in these situations, so we aren’t very well acquainted.

To Quote Mr. McEnroe: “You Cannot be Serious??”

Excuse me?? How will the world survive without my pontification?  Who will point out the hypocrisy that is on constant display in headlines like this? All I heard was, “not you.”  So, although it wasn’t easy, I left it alone.

I’m not burying my head in the sand. 

I don’t plan on living in a bubble, naively cut off from the outside world, but engaging in or simply reading online spats is emotionally and physically taxing.  The negativity has far-reaching tendrils that can take root and sap what little hope or compassion you may have left for your fellowman. Abstaining from political, moral, or religious scuffles online, has thus far helped me maintain a more positive outlook and a somewhat calmer mind. 

Of course, healthy debate can be a good thing; unfortunately, there isn’t much of that going on in this world.  Debates, whether televised or online, degenerate into shouting matches, ALL CAPS ARGUMENTS, and personal insults without any valuable, compassionate discussion taking place.  Although I am just a tiny, barely audible voice on the internet, I don’t want to contribute to that noise anymore.

Warning: Gettin’ Scriptural

He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of calm spirit.”                         Proverbs 17:27. (NKJV)

Just like everyone else, we as Christians should feel free to express our opinions respectfully and prayerfully.  Just because I have my hackles up about something I read online, doesn’t mean the Lord wants, or needs me, to go on the attack.   I see people, Christians and non, getting very angry and worked up on Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms all for naught.  I’ve done it myself. The satisfaction of making my opinion known was fleeting and did nothing to change the situation in question.  I was simply angry and in serious need of a chill pill.  I think there’s a good reason God gives us so many scriptures warning us about unwisely running off at the mouth too much – it’s bad for our spirit and our health!   

“They profess to know God, but in works they deny him…” Titus 1:16 (NKJV)

I’m trying to remember to be a doer rather than a talker. Surely it is better to focus on ways I can help change things for the better within my small “circle of influence” rather than spouting lengthy diatribes online and face the danger of becoming the proverbial, ineffective clanging symbol.  I may still address controversial or political issues occasionally, but I don’t have to rebut, or get angry about, every post or headline that contradicts my own beliefs.  I believe God would rather I put that energy into helping in the real world rather than arguing in the virtual.  If there are changes I’d like to see, it is my responsibility to find proactive ways to effect those changes in reality instead of simply ranting about them online. 

I’m Not Delusional

Lest you think I’m delusional about my online presence, I can assure you I am not.  As I said, I know I’m a very small voice on a very large platform but, whatever bit of internet this blog may reach, I want it to do so in a more positive, uplifting way.  I won’t compromise my beliefs, but I certainly don’t want to add to the copious amounts of sewage already clogging up the internet. 

It’s a small start, but maybe if we all take the time to think before we type, we can stop wasting our energy on pointless online arguments.  If we put the keyboard away and look around us, we may be surprised at the opportunities we have to do some good in the real world, starting with our family, friends, and neighbors.


Related Posts (in which I undoubtedly repeat myself):

Getting Better at Letting it Be

Respecting Our Freedom of Speech

Everybody was Facebook Fightin’

Note: The VENTS tab will remain but, hopefully, will not be added to on a frequent basis.

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