Have you seen the meme "rustle my jimmies"? It came into use in 2010 and expresses strong emotional angst toward someone else's post on the Internet.
As a blog manager for the past seven years, I've observed my share of "jimmy rustling" in the comments section—on this blog and on other blogs. Yes, it appears even Christians get their jimmies rustled from time to time.
When I read a disgruntled commenter expressing sharp criticism toward the author of a post, it makes me think of this admonition from James:
"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (1:19–20).
- quick to hear
- slow to speak
- slow to anger;
I can't help but wonder how this verse might read if James were addressing modern-day blog readers. Something like this, maybe?
Know this, my beloved Internet users: let every scanner be
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:19–20).
- quick to read carefully and slowly all the way to the end of a post
- quick to seek to understand where the author is coming from
- slow to comment
- slow to get their jimmies rustled
One of the best pieces of communication advice I have ever received is to seek to understand before seeking to be understood (again, just another way of summarizing James 1:19–20). It's no different from how we are supposed to read the Bible—seeking to understand the author's original intent rather than jumping to conclusions.
That said, would you mind if I passed on five pieces of advice that will aid you in not getting your jimmies rustled—and not sinning in your responses?
1. Don't judge a post by its title.
In order to catch readers' attention in a culture glutted with information, bloggers have to write intriguing titles in order for readers to even click on their posts. So give the author a break and read their post before blasting them for their title. Even then, don't blast them for their title. Comment on their whole presentation, not on six words stripped of their context.
2. Don't post a comment before reading to the end of the post.
Often the writer is making the same argument you are . . . you just didn't stick around long enough to realize it.
3. Do ask clarifying questions.
Rather than reading between the lines and connecting dots that aren't really there to connect, ask the author what they meant by such-and-such. Give them a chance to clarify rather than putting words in their mouth.
4. Do pray, re-read, and wait a bit before you instantly post a comment.
Growing up, my mom taught me not to send an important email immediately after writing it, but to leave some space before sending it. She probably got that idea from the Word of God: "Whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way" (Prov. 19:2).
Words can never be taken back. I trust bloggers are doing the same thing as they write a post: praying, re-reading, and waiting before instantly posting their thoughts on the worldwide web.
5. Do share truth in love.
If correction is indeed needed, share this correction in love. The apostle Paul says it better than me:
I . . . urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Eph. 4:1–6).
I'm not saying you have to agree with everything that's posted on the Internet, or even on this blog. Hardly! But I am asking you to help me change the commenting culture to one that honors God, gently corrects where needed, and encourages where possible.
I'd love to hear what you think. Have you noticed this same trend? How have you either contributed to or bucked the my-jimmies-are-rustled-and-you're-gonna-hear-about-it system?