Thinking Out Loud

September 16, 2011

Think Before You Post

Having become previously acquainted with the addictive properties of the internet’s dark side, I can identify with the AA mantra that “one drink is too many and a thousand drinks are not enough.”  I have experienced moments where one online image essentially gives you permission to then delve deeper into more of the same, a task easily undertaken when you have the road map memorized.

Of late, this has not been an issue. Facing job uncertainty, the loss of a friendship, or a medical challenge has a way of keeping you focused on things that matter, and making a renewed commitment to purity of thoughts and actions. For me, anyway. I know there are others for whom the same stresses are what drives them to find a way of escape. But lately I have been relatively detoxified and in fact, there are parts of the above-mentioned roadmap that start to fade over time.

But it can only take one idea, one article, or one photograph; and the process can start to unravel.  I know this because, about a week ago it happened to me

On a Christian website.

The woman in question, who I believe has written some Christian books, had posted to her site/blog an article about a particularly disturbing trend taking place. I won’t name it, because I don’t want to drive anyone to find it. She posted a number of pictures including one that I don’t feel was absolutely necessary. Furthermore, in the limited internet exploration which did follow, I discovered she had posted a picture that many secular bloggers and media sites had shied away from.

And then, there was the temptation to go back and see how some hold friends are faring, if you get my drift. Heck, I had already started down the road, and I might as well see how the old neighborhood was doing.

But instead, I just sat at the computer, not once, not twice, but several times with my hands hovering over the keyboard, but unable to complete any actual keystrokes. Some would say there was a battle raging. If so, the battle probably stretched out over about three days. In the end, while I somewhat danced around the outskirts of what is for me, the internet’s forbidden zone, I did not actually revisit the old haunts.

But none of this — absolutely none of it — would have happened if a certain Christian internet writer had been content just to report on a problem without feeling the need to add pictures. It was just completely unnecessary. And it was, to at least one person, a huge potential stumbling block.

We all want more readers. We all want to think our particular blog or website is a relevant source of breaking trends and opinion on current issues. The stats provide that affirmation.

But not at any price.


  1. First of all Paul, I believe that God will honor the honesty and integrity of this post. It is an ongoing thing to “die to self” and all its weaknesses and temptations. Living it out on-line is pretty gutsy.

    Secondly, just yesterday I was on a site about conversion stories and there was a woman who had once been a “model” who had come to know Christ. Not content to show pictures of her as she now is, the producers of the video clip decided to show at least some photos of her past. My first thought was “That is not wise and doesn’t bring glory to God”. So today you post about this very thing.

    Comment by Cynthia — September 16, 2011 @ 7:47 am

  2. Keep fighting for holiness and purity before God. Struggle to live above reproach. Thanks for the reminder.

    Comment by Brian — September 16, 2011 @ 9:22 am

  3. I have always felt that the struggle we have is the Holy Spirit guiding us away. Our nature is to sin, and that temptation will never go away. But every time I have to battle some of my old internet habits, I look at it as the Holy Spirit with His hand on my shoulder sort of holding me back. I take comfort in that I feel that God is helping me fight my temptation. Because without His help I could not do it alone. I too have a blog that I try to post devotions on weekly. I at one time thought about adding pictures to it, but I decided not to because when we search for pictures, we may come across some that may slip by a filter, or find one that might be offensive or “a stumbling block” as you said to others. God Bless You this day.

    Comment by Derrick Boyd — September 16, 2011 @ 10:56 am

  4. I have known Christian testimonies to have the same effect. Sometimes it seems as though some glorify the sins of their past and maybe cause minds to wander and to wonder and in these days of easy access, to look. Yes, Christ saves to the uttermost, but let us glory in the extent of His love and forgiveness, rather than the depth of our degradation before coming to know Him.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — September 18, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

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