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Joined: 2006/9/13
Posts: 3156

 Using Smiley Faces

Using Smiley Faces

Just last week changes were made to the format that is used in creating posts to the forum on SermonIndex. Generally, the changes seemed to restrict the use of symbols and color. Very little reason was given as to why these changes were made, so I began to ponder the possible reasoning behind the changes. Below are some of the things that I have considered.

The words that we choose are of great importance. In John 1:1 the Lord declares that ”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Clearly the Lord intends that our words should carry great weight and when one considers that it was by the Word that all things were made, the power of the word becomes evident.

As Christians, we should not need to use smiley faces and graphics to convey the meaning of what we are saying. The words we use should be clear and concise, and if they are not, we should endeavor that they be so and there is no better place to practice than on SermonIndex. Our tone should be even and gracious. Huge colored letters scream for attention and assault the reader. This is not the way of our Lord.

To some degree, the use of smiley faces is like hiding behind a mask. This is the way of the world, to hide behind a smile, as if all is well just because I have a smile on my face. Some of the most miserable people I know run around smiling all of the time, but their words bely their true condition. We should not be using a mask - our yea should be yea, and our nay should be nay.

Often I have seen the smiley face used after a cruel, or rude, comment – as if this somehow justifies the arrogance of what was written. Awhile back I read something to the effect that the smiley face helps to show the intention of what is written. There is something wrong with this thinking. A rude comment is a rude comment regardless of the intention behind it and adding a smiley face only serves to amplify the offense.

Lastly, to see people purposely purporting something that has clearly been restricted is quite grievous and most unChrist like.

 2010/1/2 1:43Profile

Joined: 2006/7/31
Posts: 3057

 Re: Using Smiley Faces

Dear Heartsong

I have to respectfully disagree with you. I think that there are time when no matter how much we try to convey our thoughts with another person in a loving manner, there is always the possibility that the person on the receiving end will misunderstand or read more into what was meant by the writer. I know that I myself have done this on occasion. I have been overly sensitive and had my feelings hurt because I put emotions and motives behind what another wrote instead of simply taking what they said as it was written. I have also been on the other end and had someone else misunderstand what I was trying to say. Thankfully on the few occasions this has happened those who were unsure of what I was saying came to me and things were explained in further detail and there was no strife or hard feelings.
As for smiley faces, there is probably some truth in what you shared about people lashing out at others and then including a smiley face as if to deflect from the cutting remark or comment. However there are many times when a smiley face does convey the writers heart, a heart and attitude of sisterly love for a fellow believer.

God Bless you sister

Edit: After I first posted I went back to reading some devotional and I came across this and thought it just really was so beautiful.
The King is smiling your direction. If you’ll look at Him, and bow before Him right now, you’ll see “When the King smiles, there is Life; His favor refreshes like a gentle rain” (Prov. 16:15)

 2010/1/2 2:02Profile

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37186
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11


As Christians, we should not need to use smiley faces and graphics to convey the meaning of what we are saying. The words we use should be clear and concise, and if they are not, we should endeavor that they be so and there is no better place to practice than on SermonIndex. Our tone should be even and gracious. Huge colored letters scream for attention and assault the reader. This is not the way of our Lord.

Amen sister, some great points.

I have wanted to make these changes for literally years. I am happy with the current format. I do feel that "simplicity" is something that puts sermonindex in a different category then many other forum websites.

I have grown much in my ability to convey my thoughts with written communication, primarily this has been because of my interactions on the sermonindex board. It does take alot of effort to bring your feelings across in type so people can know how you feel and not just read your writing as cold hard facts.

I do see some draw backs with not having the smiley faces and color but I feel in the end this is a much better way for this ministry.

You are always welcome to do this saints :)

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2010/1/2 5:07Profile

Joined: 2009/1/24
Posts: 454



Nyuk nyuk nyuk

Wayne Kraus

 2010/1/2 8:44Profile

Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re: Using Smiley Faces


To some degree, the use of smiley faces is like hiding behind a mask. This is the way of the world,

I'm sorry sister, I must respectfully disagree. When you talk in real life, do you talk in a stoic like manner, with no facial expressions whatsoever? Of course not. Body language and facial expressions are an integral part of communication, without which we can be easily misunderstood.

I LOVE using smiley faces on the internet. ;-) I smile a lot in real life, because I'm full of joy and generally a pretty happy guy. My former pastor even noticed that when I preach a stern message, I have a tendency to smile. Sometimes I come across harsher online than I do in person, not because I say things differently, but because you don't hear the inflection in my voice to judge my tone and you do not see my body language. These things are very important in communication.

But these things are very hard to display on the internet, for which the use of smiley faces and such can be skillfully employed to TRY and convey the tone of what we are talking about. The only time I never use smiley faces on the internet is when I write an essay. And that's simply because during an essay I try to speak a lot more scholarly, and in a different manner than I would on a simple interpersonal communication on a forum on the internet. In that context, I labor to say things in a very different manner.

Although in that context I will sometimes make limited use of emphasis techniques. Sometimes I will use bold, italics, or underline things. Why? Well, that's been the way of the world for thousands of years. Even the Hebrew prophets in their writings did such. But instead of putting something in bold, they repeated themselves twice. Or even the apostle Paul even admitted to writing in big letters to drive home a point. Or he admitted to writing in tears and with emotion. Had emoticons been around 2,000 years ago, there is NO DOUBT, the apostle Paul would've employed them in his writings. If he were on the internet today, Paul would use smiley and sad faces.

So to summarize, I must respectfully disagree. It's not in keeping of sound communication principles, and actually violates the means Biblical authors themselves employed.


Jimmy H

 2010/1/2 9:55Profile

Joined: 2008/10/2
Posts: 203

 Re: Using Smiley Faces

I believe that the warmth of our Christian love for one another can be conveyed with or without smiley faces. Personally, I feel that God us given us joy and the ability to smile as gifts, though as has been pointed out, sometimes a smile can be misused and may not always represent a pure and loving heart.

One thing I think we should strive for, in our communication, is that 'brotherly love' is cultivated. The apostle Paul's letters had many admonishments and warnings in them, but he also communicated a great depth of affection for his brothers and sisters in Christ in what he wrote. It seems like the Bible is telling us that an undertone of seriousness and sobriety of speech should mark our Christian conversation, because the time is short and we are engaged in a battle for the souls of men. At the same time, it seems to me that our interactions with one another should lead to one another feeling encouraged and loved in way that is deep and profound.

When unbelievers looked at the way the early Christians interacted, they were struck by how they loved one another. It was evident to all who observed them. The early Christians greeted one another with a holy kiss, though today a holy hug, might be more in keeping with how we would show love to one another, if we got to know each other in person. Periodically, I've read posts that have pointed out that there are challenges in conveying this same richness of affection online, and this is something I have found to be true as well. At the same time, it's amazing the sense of closeness that can be experienced online, between brothers and sisters who share a common purpose and common passion- the Lord Jesus Christ !

I remember reading one thread, a while back, in which the posters obviously disagreed with one another, but even more evident than their disagreement, was the love for one another that showed through in their posts. Many times throughout their posts could be found phrases such as "You know I love you dear brother" and that sort of thing. This it seems, is the spirit of forgiveness and restoration that is a hallmark of revivals when they occur, and which itself paves the way for revivals to take place.

Just wanted to share a few thoughts. Also, if I have caused offense in anything I have written in any of my posts to anyone, could you please forgive me ?

In Christ's love,

 2010/1/2 12:05Profile

Joined: 2009/1/4
Posts: 353


God is so good and so kind in His mercy :)

with much love

your little sis in Him

 2010/1/2 13:16Profile

Joined: 2006/9/13
Posts: 3156


As I was reading the replies, another thought crossed my mind.

Would the Holy Spirit prefer to work through words, or a symbol? I think that the enemy endeavors to limit the Holy Spirit by getting us to use something other than words to express that which He would have us to say.

Just for clarification, when Greg said "You are always welcome to do this saints :)" - I think he meant that we can use the colon and end quote instead of the little round yellow smiley.

Personally, since writing this, I am finding it difficult to replace the smiley with words. It used to be that I never used a smiley face, and I am becoming more and more convinced that that is the way that the Lord would have me to go. Please do not take this to mean that I think that we should never smile, for when the Lord lights us up on the inside, one can not help but to grin from ear to ear.

I love you my brothers and sisters!

 2010/1/2 14:18Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4499



I really don't agree that those who use "smiley faces" are "hiding behind a mask." Regardless of your conviction, a :) is the same as a :-) -- just a little more colorful.

I wanted to add something else. I traveled to the indigenous Tarahumara tribes deep within the Sierra Madre Occidental in Chihuahua. The Tarahumara do not speak Spanish (let alone English). They are a quiet and reclusive people. They live far outside of modern society...and many still live in caves. There is no electricity, running water, stores or money. They have no written language (and if they did, few would even be able to read it). Yet I noticed that one thing that they did understand was...a smile.

After all, "[i]A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones[/i]" (Proverbs 17:22).



 2010/1/2 15:01Profile

Joined: 2006/9/13
Posts: 3156


Chris, your example really does not work here. We all speak English.

Unfortunately, when I now see people using the little yellow round faces here on SI, instead of a merry heart, they scream of rebellion. The tool was removed from the toolbox. It is now our choice to either rebel, or comply. If we choose to rebel, we should search our hearts to determine the reason. As a guest, it would not be the way of Christ to go against that which has been suggested by the host.

We just finished studying John 8 in BSF and I am finding it fascinating in the way that it applies to so many things in life. We are judged in the knowing.

 2010/1/2 15:55Profile

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