File this under the “suspicious about new uses of technology” category: there is now an “Honesty Box” application for Facebook which allows members to send anonymous messages to each other.

But what could someone possibly want to say to someone else while remaining anonymous? The good fellas at Techcrunch suggest telling the person you’re secretly in love with that they are oh-so-special to you, but I have no idea what help that would be other than to confuse them immensely and make them think you’re still in 2nd grade, when those sorts of anonymous notes were cool.

Of course, now you can tell each other the difficult truth about……whatever. But by doing it anonymously and over the internet, individuals will lose out on the personal growth those difficult and awkard situations provide. The task of speaking the truth to each other in love is not for our neighbor’s benefit alone, but also for ours–it helps us come to grips with our own fears and grow in charity for our neighbors. What’s more, in making this sort of honesty anonymous, it increases the likilhood that the honest truth will be divorced from the personal, face-to-face charity that makes the truth bearable.

It’s certainly all in good fun, and the sort of tool that naysayers like myself jump all over far too quickly. But while the movement away from face-to-face interaction may make us more comfortable and make life easier for us, it cannot be good for us.

Addendum:  As I wrote this on Saturday, I was surprised at how well the readings on Sunday morning fit with this theme.  The OT reading was 2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15, in which Nathan confronts David about his illicit behavior.  The NT reading was Galatians 2:11-21, in which Paul confronts Peter face-to-face about Peter’s hypocrisy.  As the homilist pointed out in his excellent sermon, such face-to-face confrontations are to help us grow in holiness.  We must not only be Nathan and Paul to our neighbor, but we must be open and ready to hear from Nathan and Paul as well.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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