Morning Walk photo by BevCraigWhite (flickr)I heard an analogy once that goes something like this…

There was a woman who gossiped. She went to her pastor, after realizing that she had slanderd someone, and asked how she could fix the situation. The pastor told her to get a pillow case and fill it with feathers.

Once she did, he told her to go to a rooftop and shake the feathers out. Then he told her find every feather and put it back in the pillow case. 

She replied, “But pastor, that is impossible. There’s no way I can possibly find all those feathers. The wind will blow them everywhere!” 

The pastor replied, “You’re right. That’s what gossip is like.”

This post isn’t about gossip; it is about reputation.  But both are hard to contain once made known.

Every time we make an appearance online we are contributing to our reputations.

Every time.

The sober reality of online presence has pushed me to be more intentional about who we are, who we serve, and what we put out into the world.

In this social media day and age, eyes are on us whether we know it or not. We are creating a reputation that will not only become a legacy but a lamp illuminating our character.  Every tweet, facebook blurb, blog post, etc., is a catalog of who we are and what we are reflecting to the world.  We are called, as followers of Jesus, to be intentional, prayerful, and wise about our presence.

The feathers of our reputation are spreading far and fast, and can’t be contained once let loose.

What do our feathers say about us?

How can we use them to make a difference?

Check out the Relevant conference, where women are coming together to be intentional in the larger blog and social media world.

by Sarah Mae, Like a Warm Cup of Coffee

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  1. 1

    Oh my, such wise words for all. Lately I have been praying and even took action regarding young girl’s/women’s posts on their facebook, myspace etc. At rather young ages, these women are not realizing how public their temporary experimentations and flirtations are. My advice to be careful was not well received. Hopefully there will be a measure of grace with these youthful exposures.

  2. 2

    I recently had the privilege of speaking to a number of mums in business. I reminded them to work on who they are while nobody is watching, so that when they’re in the spotlight they don’t have to try to be someone they’re not. With the prevalence of social media though it seems someone is ALWAYS watching. I agree that we are wise to be aware of our presence online, and to be mindful of the reputation we are creating with every comment, tweet and post we write.

  3. 3

    Amen to this. How often, reading FB updates, I wish to gather some of my friends in my arms and give them these words, not to chide but to guide. You have done well to write this.
    THINK, my friends, think.

  4. 4

    I think you are so right, yet I struggle with the opposite of this – always trying to look “perfect” – especially on facebook stats and tweets. I do not lie, but I only share the good. I just wrote a post on my blog about this yesterday. I think Christ calls us to a life of authenticity. I think there is a fine line between being mindful of our reputation and being transparent so that others can grow along with us – I think that can be just as Christ – honoring. I definitely do not have it all figured out – that’s for sure.

  5. 5

    Wow. This is a powerful and much needed post. In this day and age, it’s SO SO easy to go off on wild and hurtful tangents…but the one it hurts the most is us. I totally agree and admit I’m guilty. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to be more intentional with my words…they are so powerful. I am doing better but thanks for the reminder because I’m kind of a ‘spit fire’ and I have a long ways to go.

  6. 6

    Yes.

  7. 7

    I watched a movie that had that analogy played out..so powerful! This subject has been on my heart lately as I re evaluate the purpose of my blog and online presence. Thanks for a great (and timely) reminder!

  8. 8

    Excellent! We have been talking about this exact thing with our pre-teen daughter. However, it is a great topic for all ages.

  9. 9

    So true. And something we all should remember.

  10. 10

    What a great analogy. I’m also with what Tiffany said “I think there is a fine line between being mindful of our reputation and being transparent so that others can grow along with us – I think that can be just as Christ – honoring. I definitely do not have it all figured out – that’s for sure. ”

  11. 11

    I think this also can be applied to who & what we’re letting speak into our lives. I recently deleted a girl I knew from high school as a friend on Facebook. She was saying hurtful and damaging things about some people we both knew. I realized that I wouldn’t have stood there and let her talk like that IRL so I decided to electronically walk away.
    Not only do I have to ensure that what I put out there is what God would have me be, but also what I let in. Thank you so much for the reminder!

  12. 12

    Yes. For me, it’s a struggle to not complain on my facebook updates. Because I can be cynical and funny while, at the same time, clearly portraying a negative attitude… i.e. failing to shine like the stars in the universe that Paul talks about in Ephesians when he tells us to do everything without complaining.
    Thank you for the challenge to always make the most of every opportunity I have even when I post something new for my fb friends.

  13. 13

    Fantastic post. I always try to be God-honoring in what I plop down for the world. Not secretive…..just healthy!
    I’ve also been the topic of gossip from a group of coworkers recently. It hurt me deeply…..mostly because of their claim of Christ.
    It was unmerited and ugly. AND UNTRUE! I learned a great lesson for myself through it. DON’T DO IT, EVER!

  14. 14

    My mom shared this story with me when I was a teenager and what a blessing!! Thanks for the reminder!

  15. 15

    What a timely post! In our house, we have been talking about the subject of being “in the world, but not of the world”. We were just talking about our words and the impact they have. What a great picture to teach that lesson!

  16. 16

    Such a good illustration! I tend to be exactly like I am in real life when I blog, etc. I think that’s a really good thing, but I should probably be more careful. I am really honest about my shortcomings, but in that I don’t want to misrepresent Christ, ever. Thanks for this.

  17. 17

    I really enjoyed your post! I just wrote a post about the reasons why I left facebook, and one of them was because I didn’t want to end up summing someone up or judging them based on their facebook page. Sometimes I see someone complaining, being overly negative towards another friend, family member or even a celebrity or viewing their photo albums via twitter or FB and it changes my level of respect for them.
    http://theclassywoman.blogspot.com/2010/02/facebook-sabbatical.html
    Once information is out on the web, it is there for all to see, like it or not and it affects and often determines your reputation.

  18. 18

    Your words are so true.
    Ginger

  19. 19

    This is really true – a wonderful reminder – and greatly appreciated. I often feel about my blog being as a form of ministry and hoping that others reading will see Jesus there.
    Lately, though, I’ve been getting a lot of questionable followers (though not trying to judge them) – so I get torn as to if I should block them or not(even if their comments left were not so questionable – if they are questionable, I don’t hesitate to block them). My struggle lies in not judging them and wanting to show them Jesus – yet I want to remain godly in my online presence.
    I don’t know if I’m making any sense – but hopefully someone will have some insight as to how to treat “followers”.

  20. 20

    so very true!
    Our online image is a big deal. If I’m not careful of what I’m saying on facebook or anywhere on my online “image” the people who I am praying for and working with on a daily basis are effected.
    It’s so easy to pretend like this is an outlet to say whatever because it’s online–you know, the place where no one really knows you. But that’s not true.
    thanks for the reminder!

  21. 21

    Wow! That really hit hard for me. Mouth hanging open and all! I needed that reminder. Thank you Sarah Mae!

  22. 22

    Wonderful post! It’s easy to forget that our words have value when we send them into the cyber-ether. But they are read by someone, and have an impact.
    Thanks, Sarah Mae!

  23. 23

    This was lovely, sweet friend. Such a quiet and wise reminder.

  24. 24

    Great reminder. I was talking with a friend one day and he was saying how it was sad that so many people seemed so rude, discouraging, and disrespectful on the Facebook status updates. I agreed and always made sure that my updates were not negative. I so loved the feather analogy too. Perfect.

  25. 25

    Amen…Amen…Amen!!
    awesome post!

  26. 26

    In the Jewish Tradition the sin of gossip is called Lahan Hara. The parable of the feathers is told by Rabbis over the centuries.
    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/812861/jewish/A-Pillow-Full-of-Feathers.htm

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