I suppose there are two ways to answer the question that I asked myself in the title. The first would be to look at why I started this blog and what my overarching intentions with it are. The second would be to break it down to the level of each individual post and look at what was motivating me at that time. In this post, I’m going to address the second option. This is my 93rd post since I started the blog late last year, so I think it’s high time I did a bit of reflection.
Can a reflection through this medium ever be completely sincere? Probably not. I’m writing a document which I know will be made public – not just read by friends, but by anyone from anywhere in the world who should stumble across it. Because of this, I’d say it’s inevitable that I will edit what I say in order to present a particular public face. I won’t be doing this out of any conscious dishonesty or desire to present myself as something different to who I believe myself to be, it’ll simply be something that happens, just as it would happen for everyone who sets out to write something like this. I’m making this clear now, because I feel that it’s necessary to have out in the open when writing this sort of thing. A lot of this will be written with the aid of hindsight, which, whilst making things seem apparent now, doesn’t necessarily give me the true picture of how things were at the time of writing each past post.
Let the words I say be the sound of your grace…I don’t want to say a word, unless it points the world back to you.
Those are lyrics from Hawk Nelson’s song, Words. Those lyrics represent an ideal that I, as a Christian, strive towards: that point where everything I do reflects who God is and works for his glory. Unfortunately, I’m a long way away from that actually being the truth (thank God for his grace)! As it is, whilst I may try to write every post with the purest intentions of glorifying God, I’d be a terrible liar if I tried to pretend that that was the case.
Some posts, it’s true, are written because of the belief that God has prompted me to write them, or because I feel that the topic is something that people who don’t know God need to learn about.
On the other hand, a few of my posts are written to counter something that I’ve heard that I don’t agree with (I did one recently about the pointlessness of the debate within Christianity over whether it’s ‘religious’ or not). Whilst I try to do this because I believe that making the case is important, I have to admit that there is probably personal pride involved, that feeling of ‘I’m right, you’re wrong, so you should know why I’m right’.
Similar to this, there are some posts which I might write out of a desire to get across a point to a group of people out of some personal annoyance or grievance on my part. Whilst the points that I make may be theological and Bible-based, my reasons for making them may be pettier.
There are a few of my posts that have been written out of anger/annoyance at something. These posts are usually reasonably easy to spot because they look like rants! The truth is, they look like rants because they are rants. Unfortunately, writing something out of anger is not the way to make a good case – what you gain in terms of passion, you lose in terms of logic and clarity. That’s not to say passion and emotion in writing is wrong, but I think, given the nature of the blog that I’m trying to write, letting them take the lead over God is certainly a bad idea.
As I write this, I’m realising how hard it is to self-reflect on this sort of platform in a way that I feel is anything close to adequate. But as well as becoming aware of my shortcomings in this particular post, it also makes me question my motives behind anything I say/write/do. Why do I write the Facebook statuses, or Twitter updates that I do? Am I doing it out of a loving desire to glorify God? Or am I doing it out of pride, condescension and anger? I know for a fact that not everything that I have written has been written for the right reasons.
Even with all this in mind, I don’t want to end this post on a negative note. Paul says that three things remain for us: ‘faith, hope and love’. I don’t want this post to be devoid of them. With every post I write, whatever the specific motivation behind it, I have faith that God can use it to make a difference, even if it’s only to one person, I have hope that positivity can come of it even if my motivation happened to be largely negative. The tongue (or the fingers we type with) is like a fire, capable of great harm, but God is a healing, restorative God, and I know that he can turn damaged things into glorious things.
If you’ve stuck through to the end of this post, thank you. Even now, I don’t think that I’ve been able to say everything that I’ve wanted to say, or said everything with the honesty that it deserves, but I’ve had a go. I’m not doing this for any sympathy, or to appear falsely modest – I actually had the idea to write this out of a sense of conviction over the motivations of one of my recent posts.
I’ll end with this: ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Let’s never forget that.