In some ways, everyone would agree that when we put ourselves out there on social media, we leave ourselves vulnerable to criticism. If we can’t handle it, then don’t do it. Fair enough.
But you know, harsh criticism reveals more about the heart of the critic than the one being critiqued. Because our words reveal our hearts. And one quality we easily see is the difference between a generous and a stingy spirit. A stingy spirit cares about itself. There is an underlying assumption that it is better than others. And that it can’t afford grace for them. Somehow, being gracious with others depletes its own worth. So, they resort to harsh words and judgment. And walk away feeling smug and superior.
A generous spirit always has enough to give away. Even if there is something that needs to be addressed, a generous heart is always about building up and encouraging. We might be surprised how much a kind word to a person with over 700,000 followers might mean. We might think someone with that many followers would be immune to the power of words.
But here’s the thing. Behind that blog, behind that post, being that picture, is…a person. A person who practices courage and vulnerability by hitting “publish” every day. We can get comfortable with other’s pages and our own anonymity. And we have the “right” to say what we want. But, what does that reveal about us?
The older I get, the more I realize that every single one of us has a story. Every one of us wants to matter. I think it’s impossible to have a generous spirit without making a difference somewhere. It is being willing to ask the question: In a world filled with broken people, what can I give that might heal one of the broken places? What can I give which will help others know they matter?
When we push our words of grace out toward a broken and hurting world, they create places of rest and healing. Being stingy makes us smaller, but a generous spirit always enlarges us and everyone around us.
I want my words to give courage to someone. I want them to testify to a world filled with grace. Let’s consider how to cultivate a spirit of generosity. Our words are gifts which can help others move forward. Let’s choose them carefully.