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How We Treat Each Other on the Net
Miss Ruthie Aileen just gave me an award! I'm so touched. But even more so by what she said:

Sheila at To Love Honor and Vaccum - I don't know how you do it. You are a marvelous inspiration to me. I know we have never met and probably won't until we get to heaven...but I will keep reading your blog until that day. I also plan to comment more so we can get to know each other. Your blog is one that is definitely full of purpose.
Isn't that so sweet? And encouraging? Thank you!

I have to tell you all that I get a lot of hate mail through my website (not my blog thankfully, but my website) because of the columns I write. They're from a more conservative standpoint (conservative culturally, that is), in a secular paper, so obviously I tick off the liberal folks. But I've come to expect it and I live with it.

What I don't understand quite so much is how we moms sometimes treat each other in these blogs and in the comments.

For instance, I've had my hand slapped in the comment section of this blog for doing various things, from letting my kids dress up for Hallowe'en to letting my daughter on the internet.

I find this strange. I have pretty dogmatic views on some things that most, even in the church, would find excessive. We don't watch television at all, for instance. My kids don't watch any movies with questionable content, which includes things that I was watching at a much younger age. We homeschool. Our kids don't listen to "regular" music that much, unless I happen to be playing the country station in the car.

Now these things are not things that most Christians do. And I think that's okay. I think this is what our family is called to, and I think God calls people and families to different things.

Personally, I would love it if more Christians would turn off their television sets and if more would homeschool. But I know that's not where most people are at. And I also know that there are things that I do (like have a glass of wine, for instance), that many Christians would just freak at. So we are not all the same, though we believe in the same God (and isn't that what's most important?).

I think it's great to hash these things out. Is it okay to drink? What is okay to watch on television? What should our stance on politics be? On media? On kids in the internet? By all means, let's talk about it.

But let's understand that while some of us may have very strong feelings about some area being black and white, that opinion is not shared by all.

If you think you really are truly right, and that this is something that God wants to convict all of us of, and not just you, then that's fine. But think carefully about how you're going to convey that message. To leave a comment saying, "I can't believe you would do that!" is not exactly helpful. It isn't going to win anyone to your side. Nor is saying, "No Christian should do that and still call themselves a believer!" That just makes you look petty and mean-spirited.

Honestly, why don't we just talk? Isn't that what a blog is for? It shouldn't be a forum to judge people or insult people. It should be a place where we can encourage people, and even offer some advice. I think a gentle, "I'm glad you had fun, but have you ever thought of this..." is fine. Do you see the difference? That doesn't sound judgmental. That sounds friendly.

But to jump all over someone in the comments isn't gracious. It isn't going to make people think your way anyway.

And remember that a lot of people read this blog, and other blogs. If you want to say something to me, go ahead. But please do it graciously, because I really don't want to turn off the people who are still spiritually searching. I don't want them to think that Christians are judgmental just because of some comments that I didn't even write! Do you understand? You're doing a disservice to me, to bloggers, to the church, but most especially to Jesus.

There, now I've said my two cents. So thanks Ruthie Aileen for the encouragement, and I hope more of us can figure out how to be encouraging, rather than judging constantly!

To Love, Honor and Vacuum

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At 4:21 PM , Blogger Donnetta (momrn2) said…

Well said! And congrats on the award!


At 6:36 PM , Blogger Tracey said…

I too find you very inspirational and read you evey day! God Bless! YOU GO GIRL!


At 7:56 PM , Blogger Tereasa said…

What an appropriate post! I find that we all have our "hot topics" that get us going. It is often tempting to rant about something when no one can see your face. Perhaps speaking from a keyboard is too comfortable. We must remember, like you said, that we are representing Christ... even in blogworld. Thank you for the reminder to all of us.


At 9:21 PM , Blogger Sophia said…

I love reading your blog. It challenges me and makes me think. I am sorry if you are receiving mean-spirited comments. Keep doing what you are doing and know that you are having a positive impact- even while letting your kids trick or treat. :)


At 10:30 PM , Blogger pedalpower said…

It's too bad you have been getting such comments. We may differ on small things, but as you said we serve the same God, and that's the most important thing.


At 12:17 PM , Blogger Dena @ Green Acres said…

Congratulations on your award. I'm sorry you have gotten negative comments, but unfortunately there are those out there who seem to enjoy stirring up trouble or making others feel bad. As you said "Can't we just discuss it?" But to those of us who enjoy reading what you write....write on!


At 9:37 PM , Anonymous Kasia said…

Congratulations on your award. I really enjoy reading your thoughts - keep up the good work. Unfortunately, by exposing our thoughts and lives, they are sometimes criticized by others.But really we have no right to play God and judge others. It was interesting to read that you got negative feedback about letting your girls dress up for Halloween. I struggled with that decision this year. Some of our Christian friends went out for Halloween and others didn't. My favourite event from Halloween took place outside of one of our pastors homes. They have a party in front of their house on HAlloween, sing worship music, hand out treats and hot chocolate and just hang out with the neighbours that come by.When the pastors wife was questioned by someone " I thought Christians looked down on Halloween", she replied "Jesus calls us to love our neighbours and what better night to do than when everyone comes to our door". How great is that!

BTW, I noticed you are homeschooling your girls. I have been researching different curriculums as we are thinking of starting homeschooling our 4 year old. Would you mind sharing which curriculum you use and why? I am just gathering opinions. Kasia

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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