I’ll never forget the time I got caught passing notes in Mr. Ward’s 7th Grade Science class. For those too young to remember what “notes” are, they were creatively folded slips of notebook paper that functioned much like today’s text messages. Even back in the 1980’s there were creative acronyms like “t.l.a.” to express terms of endearment to our bffs. It was my most embarrassing moment! The note revealed my interest in Jennifer Shope and before my best friend could complete the handoff to Jennifer’s best friend, it was intercepted. Mr. Ward made me stand in front of the whole class while he read aloud my most private and well… most awkward thoughts. The whole school heard about it. Not only was I embarrassed by it, but Jennifer was embarrassed by it too and my chances having her “like” me, let alone “go” with me were over.
The Bible teaches that “All that is in secret will eventually be made known.” (Luke 8:17) This is especially
true today. With one touch of a screen or one click of a mouse we are instantly standing not only in front of Mr. Ward’s 7th Grade classroom, but the whole world gets to see our most private and well…most awkward thoughts. The lessons I learned that day I now share with the students of my church.
1. First, don’t ever send a message, picture, or image that you wouldn’t want your mother to see. Just because she doesn’t use social media, doesn’t mean that it will not get back to her.
2. Don’t ever share something personal about someone else without their permission. When something is person-al, it belongs to that person. It’s not ours to share.
3. Never message, post, share, or text when you are emotional. Feelings such as anger, sadness, jealousy, and even joy can cause us to do things out of character. Remember that when these emotions pass, we may not feel the same.
4. Finally, consider the consequences before sharing. Unlike my paper note, which was shredded and permanently destroyed, the things we share today can follow us forever.
Eventually the paper notes of my generation yielded to email, which is now becoming a thing of the past. And today’s communication technology will be tomorrow’s ancient history, but our words and actions will remain. At the height of the email age, I asked Jennifer Shope to the junior/senior prom; I opted to use a paper note again, which made her laugh. My story, though one I’ll never forget, had a happy ending. I pray that would be true for all students today too, as they try to make good choices in sharing their lives with others.
Rev. Bryan Scott Holley received his Bachelors of Arts from Marshall University with a minor in history and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Christian Theological Seminary, where he earned his Master of Divinity degree. While at Christian Theological Seminary, Scott earned recognition for excellence in the field of biblical studies an honor reflective of his passion for the Bible and biblical preaching. Pastor Scott lives in Mt. Sterling with his wife of thirteen years, Heather, and their two children, Addy and Layne.