Raising the standard for email
A Christian Science perspective: Email messages, often spread far and wide, can be written with love and respect.
A woman who is a casual acquaintance from church said to me, âI enjoy the e-mails you forward.â I smiled and thanked her, but inwardly I felt a little uneasy. She wasnât on my e-mail contact list. I was surprised to realize how far forwarded e-mails could carry my name and words through cyberspace.
While I was certain that I never e-mailed anything intentionally offensive, I began to consider that it wasnât always my intention to share everything with everyone. From time to time, though, I might have taken a little more liberty with friends I felt closer to. After all, my friends know me well and wouldnât misunderstand what I share. The womanâs comment inspired me to be more alert to what I was sending to others. I considered that I shouldnât voice anything to anyone if I didnât feel it morally right to voice it to everyone.
So I began to examine the whole e-mail thing from a more spiritually loving perspective. This became increasingly significant to me when I came upon this instruction from the Bible: âOnly let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christâ (Phil. 1:27).
Whenever I want to be more loving, I turn to God for guidance. Iâve come to trust the divine Mind to be the source of all intelligence, so I listened quietly for ways that I could express more spiritual love through my use of e-mail. Here are some of the ideas that came to thought: Before sending on e-mails that include humor, Iâve begun to ask myself: âIs this really funny?â âDo these ideas elevate thought or pull it down?â âDoes this humor defame the human, belittling any particular group of people?â âDoes this glorify evil, or does it celebrate good?â
I also thought about those e-mails that threaten or promise that if you do or do not send them on, something good or bad will happen. I find little value in encouraging others to believe that any power but divine Love governs or controls life.
I love the promise Christ Jesusâ Sermon on the Mount includes about peacemakers â that they are children of God. So if I want to be a peacemaker, I wouldnât want to share e-mails that invite people to lose their peace. For instance, messages that hold our government or elected officials up to ridicule do little to support the holy demand of the golden rule to love humanity â our brothers and sisters â as we would want to be loved.
Because it is a joy for me to celebrate that God, divine Love, is everywhere, why would I want to make room in my day for any thought or action that isnât loving? By not passing along a contentious e-mail, I feel that I am, at least to some degree, honoring the example of a great spiritual healer who loved humanity, Mary Baker Eddy. She understood and shared how the power of love favorably affects life. She wrote: âI will love, if another hates. I will gain a balance on the side of good, my true being. This alone gives me the forces of God wherewith to overcome all error. On this rests the implicit faith engendered by Christian Science, which appeals intelligently to the facts of manâs spirituality, individuality, to disdain the fears and destroy the discords of this material personalityâ (âMiscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,â pp. 104-105).
I, too, can add to âthe side of goodâ by taking a few minutes to consider, âIs there a holy, loving purpose to my sharing this e-mail message?â
E-mail is a form of publishing. Mrs. Eddy, who founded the Monitor, established it to provide the public with a newspaper whose objective is âto injure no man, but to bless all mankindâ (âThe First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,â p. 353). One way that I can help âbless all mankindâ is to more consistently make choices that prove that because God is Love, He never stops loving. To the degree that I let myself be governed by His tender grace, neither will I.