March 31 of this year will be 7 years that I have been blogging. Actually, a little longer, because for a while I had the rudimentary beginnings of a blog on my personal web site in 2000.
I’ve seen some crazy things…people pretending to be someone they’re not, online drama translated into real life drama, breakups, marriages, deaths, birth announcements, and relationships beginning entirely through an online interaction. There was a time when saying that you “met on the internet” was kind of…weird. Several people I know have been introduced to the Baha’i Faith through the internet…whether it be through blogs, forums, etc. Some of the biggest events in the world that have happened in the last few years I have learned first through blogs.
I love the path that I have been able to tread. It is a privilege and a blessing to be able to write, express my views, and connect with other human beings in this way. Friends have scattered across the globe, and yet I feel like they still live next door.
With all of that said, it is important to endeavor to use wisdom in one’s speech, to keep an open mind, and most of all rein in that mouse button…I’ve seen some really damaging things happen when people (including myself) have not thought before pushing the “post” button. I say this in particular to Baha’is who have blogs, but it is applicable to everyone. Also, I refer to blogs because that is my main focus, but it applies to all social networking interaction, really.
“Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech.”
(Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 93)
This also pertains to our reactions when someone does something that we don’t like. Whether we know them or not, it is so easy to react negatively when we perceive that we have been wronged, or that someone is attacking us.
“One word is like unto springtime causing the tender saplings of the rose-garden of knowledge to become verdant and flourishing, while another word is even as a deadly poison. It behoveth a prudent man of wisdom to speak with utmost leniency and forbearance so that the sweetness of his words may induce everyone to attain that which befitteth man’s station.”
(Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 173)
That being said, it is also important to speak up when there is an injustice occurring, to defend those who are helpless, and to stand up for justice.
“We exhort mankind in these days when the countenance of Justice is soiled with dust, when the flames of unbelief are burning high and the robe of wisdom rent asunder, when tranquillity and faithfulness have ebbed away and trials and tribulations have waxed severe, when covenants are broken and ties are severed, when no man knoweth how to discern light and darkness or to distinguish guidance from error.
O peoples of the world! Forsake all evil, hold fast that which is good. Strive to be shining examples unto all mankind, and true reminders of the virtues of God amidst men. He that riseth to serve My Cause should manifest My wisdom, and bend every effort to banish ignorance from the earth. Be united in counsel, be one in thought. Let each morn be better than its eve and each morrow richer than its yesterday. Man’s merit lieth in service and virtue and not in the pageantry of wealth and riches. Take heed that your words be purged from idle fancies and worldly desires and your deeds be cleansed from craftiness and suspicion. Dissipate not the wealth of your precious lives in the pursuit of evil and corrupt affection, nor let your endeavours be spent in promoting your personal interest. Be generous in your days of plenty, and be patient in the hour of loss. Adversity is followed by success and rejoicings follow woe. Guard against idleness and sloth, and cling unto that which profiteth mankind, whether young or old, whether high or low. Beware lest ye sow tares of dissension among men or plant thorns of doubt in pure and radiant hearts.”
(Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 137)
It isn’t always easy to do these things, and as human beings we are still learning to conquer the world of the written word. Keep trying, keep writing, keep learning. I’m cheering you on, and I’m right here beside you.