I have my Facebook page set to shoot me an e-mail when a friend posts on my wall (or whatever you call that thingy that pops up initially). It saves me the trouble of actually having to go to Facebook to check these things out. I suppose that sounds a bit lazy, but time is money (as the wise ones say).
Because of that practice, I’ve discovered an interesting phenomenon that would have otherwise gone unnoticed (by me, at least). Occasionally, I’ll wake up in the morning to an e-mail telling me that Jack Doe (names have been changed to protect the innocent) has posted on my page. Eager to know what Jack has said to, about, or for me, I click on the handy-dandy link and head over to the ever-popular Facebook.
The Vanishing Post
This works like a charm. On rare occasions, however, by the time I land on the spot of the post, it has magically disappeared. At first, this was not only befuddling to me; it drove me crazy trying to find the delinquent missive. Then one day it dawned on me. The post had been deleted.
It often takes me a while to actually understand these things (especially when they involve technology). But I figured it out in part because I’ve done the same thing. I’ve posted what I think is a clever, funny, or wisdom-filled message only to regret what I’ve said ten seconds later. At that point, I’ve gone back in and deleted the post. By that time, of course, the e-mail has been dispatched, and I’ve been outed. My post is not seen, but my lurking has been disclosed.
Having experienced this myself, I’m now assuming this is what happens to my vanishing Facebook posts. Though it may be assigned to some weird, computer glitch, I’d rather stick with the deleted post theory. I do so because it’s very Biblically sound. Allow me to explain.
“I now find it comforting to discover a deleted text.”
King Solomon is credited with amassing all sorts of wisdom from around the known world of his time. One of the axioms he collected was, “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” (Proverbs 17:28) He included many other such proverbs that dealt with remaining silent such as, “The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives.” (Proverbs 18:7) Proverbs 12:23 and 20:3 also come to mind.
With this Biblical wisdom in tow, I now find it comforting to discover a deleted text. It means (at least in my own mind) that someone thought enough of me to avoid the offensive word (albeit at the last second). They were also wise enough to avoid looking like a fool in the eyes of the Facebook world.
It has also informed my own postings. I hate sounding foolish and certainly don’t mean to offend. As Honest Abe once said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]