brown on green, A Regular column about finances
It is a good thing the Internet and social media were not around when I was younger. I’m sure I would have said or posted something that would still embarrass me today. Truthfully, I have said and done many things I regret, especially when I was younger, but most people don’t know what I said or did. I’m also thankful to those who do know about these things, but do not hold them against me. We live in a mob-like atmosphere today on social media, where anyone can be criticized and ostracized by the mob for their words and actions.
I remember taking a safety driving class many years ago that taught the proper way to pass on a two-lane road. Most people assume the first steps are to signal your intention to pass and make sure the road is clear. According to this instructor, the first step is to determine if the pass is necessary. He pointed out that if we are going to turn off the road in a mile anyway, the safest move is not to pass at all. This safety tip has powerful implications for the social media world. Your opinion about what someone has said or done may be correct, but you should consider whether it is necessary to state that opinion.
Many times, our own opinion may be flawed because we don’t have all the facts about why someone said or did a particular thing. Even if we do have the facts, will our criticism help build up the individual or tear them down? This is an area few of us have conquered, and James 3 refers to the tongue (text in this case) as an out-of-control fire.
It’s also important for us to give those who may have lost control of their tongue or acted indiscreetly the benefit of the doubt and not write them off forever. In 2 Timothy 4, Paul states Mark was profitable to him. Earlier, Paul did not want to work with Mark because he abandoned the group on his first missionary journey. It is a good reminder that even folks who fall into youthful indiscretion can still be useful in the Kingdom. I’m grateful to those who did not write me off based on what I said, did, or even who
I was as a young man.
About the Columnist: David Brown, CPA, is director of Free Will Baptist Foundation. To learn more about the grants program, visit www.fwbgifts.org.