The comment section is a double-edged sword, in my view.
BENEFITS OF THE COMMENT SECTION
It can be a wonderful place where we share community, encouragement, prayer, and fellowship. It can be a place where those who have more experience on this journey can mentor and bless those who are struggling. It can be a place where we experience the unity, support, and love of the body of Christ. It can be a safer place, sometimes, to share because you can share anonymously rather than talking face-to-face with people you know at church who know your husband.
Sometimes wives who haven’t learned how to respect their husbands yet start out with real pain and real questions. I want them to be able to ask questions, even if they aren’t perfect at it. I hope to teach women to learn to respect their husbands even in how they ask hard questions. We don’t have to respect sin. But we do want to show proper honor and respect for our husbands out of reverence for Christ.
I have seen many people grow and benefit from edifying conversations in the comment section here. Maybe some start out really upset and confused, but others share things God has shown them, and those who are hurting are blessed and strengthened. That is beautiful!
But, there is a dark side to the comment section, too.
PERILS OF THE COMMENT SECTION
It is possible for a wife to over share in a public online forum in a way that would cause her husband to feel disrespected or even betrayed if he knew what she shared. It is possible to gossip about our husbands or to slander our husbands online. We may humiliate them by what we share.
It is also possible for other wives, and even bloggers, to give advice that may not be biblical. Or sometimes a wife who needs godly counsel may end up feeling more confused after reading so many different opinions of other women who don’t really know her situation or who simply have opposing ideas. It is possible to take advice from other commenters or bloggers rather than seeking God and seeking to do what He is prompting. That is never wise.
It is also possible for people to attack others and create a lot of hurt feelings. I try to weed out any comments like that. And anything that is obviously hateful or divisive.
The easiest thing to do, on my end, would be to just not have comments. A lot of blogs and sites have stopped having a comment section because there are so many problems it can cause. It takes a ton of time to moderate comments, to respond to them, and to get rid of the really unproductive or hateful ones. I can see the wisdom in not having comments at all.
If there is a comment section, my prayer is that we will seek to use it wisely. It truly can be used for much good!
AVOID DISRESPECTING YOUR HUSBAND ONLINE
We will want to take care to not disrespect our husbands in a public forum. If you think you may have disrespected your husband online on a blog, you can always ask the blogger to remove your comments. Most bloggers will try to accommodate such a request. Going forward, you may just want to be more aware of how your husband might feel if he knew what you shared.
To avoid being disrespectful, I would certainly avoid sharing any identifying details about your situation that might cause others to know that it is you. And you can ask general questions or search general topics on the blog. For example, you can search “porn” and look at the articles on my blog rather than identify yourself by name and talk about that your husband is addicted to porn.
It is a serious thing to revile anyone – to speak against them abusively. But it is even more serious to speak abusively and insultingly against someone in a position of God-given authority in our lives. In fact, we can bring God’s judgment on ourselves if we speak this way about our husbands, our political leaders, our boss, police officers, military personnel, our pastors, or anyone in a position of God-given leadership.
God counts our reviling against those He has placed in positions of leadership in our lives as our reviling against Him.
If there is sin going on in the life of someone in a leadership position, we may need to address that, but we must be careful to respect God’s authority structure. (Check out Number 16 about Korah’s rebellion against Moses and Aaron and 2 Peter 2:9-11 for some biblical examples.)
It is even dangerous to revile Satan, although he is certainly evil. We are to allow God to rebuke him, and not be presumptuous and attempt to rebuke him or speak against him ignorantly and directly ourselves.
Note – people in positions of God-given authority also bring judgment on themselves if they misrepresent God to those in their care. That is the reason Moses wasn’t able to enter the promised land. He rebuked the people and struck the rock instead of speaking to it. He was angry and made it look to the people like God was angry when He wasn’t. (Numbers 20) And if someone in leadership is prideful or set himself above God, there is often swift judgment from God for that, and many other misuses and abuses of God-given authority, as well. (Nabal – 1 Samuel 25. Nebuchadnezzar – Jeremiah 43:10, Daniel 4. Herod – Acts 12:21-23)
AVOID GIVING UNBIBLICAL ADVICE TO OTHERS
I pray that we will also be very careful about any advice we may give to others online. It is impossible to know for sure what is going on with someone else online. There is no way to know if the person is telling all of the truth. There may be a lot of details she is not able to share. You don’t know the husband’s side of things.
So, let’s be very sober-minded about what we share with those who are struggling and hurting, and let’s seek to point them to Christ – not to our own snap judgments, assumptions, or opinions. There is a risk we may become “busy bodies.” Certainly, we want to avoid that.
Sometimes it can be best not to give direct advice, opinions, or reasonings but to share things God has shown us or to offer prayer. And really, we should only be responding as the Spirit of God leads, not in our own wisdom. Our own human wisdom will always make things worse – mine included.
It may be wise for us all to pray fervently before seeking wisdom from other believers we respect. And it may also be wise for us to pray before giving any counsel.
If you have a really serious issue and you believe you need outside counseling after praying over things and seeking to listen to God, it may be best to go to a trusted, godly counselor/mentoring wife in private in person. Or you can go to www.focusonthefamily.org. They have a one-time, free, private Christian counseling service and they can often refer you to a Christian counselor near you.
(Of course, just because someone is a “Christian counselor” doesn’t mean they are going to always give biblical, godly advice. No matter who gives you advice, always weigh it against the Word of God.)
Ultimately, God’s opinion is the only one that really matters. Let’s pursue His wisdom, His truth, His healing, and His direction for us above everything else!