Thursday, 3 September 2009


When you read a typo or a mistake in an email or a published article, do you feel an insatiable need to send a letter to the writer, telling them that they've done something wrong?

I'm not talking about factual mistakes that determines the tone/bias/information of an article. I'm talking about simple things, like a bracket that shouldn't have been in a hyperlinked URL, or a slight grammatical mistake that has no impact on the sentence whatsoever because it still gets the message across.

What do you do?

Do you ignore the problem? Do you laugh it off? Do you take five minutes out of your life to write a non-constructive critical letter to the writer telling them their mistake? A mistake that they literally cannot rectify? This is not about an online article that can be easily edited, this is about either a printed article or an email that has been sent and can no longer be retrieved.

It's a phenomena that interests me. Why people feel the need to point out someone's mistakes, even after knowing full well that it's happened and that nothing can be done. And it reeks strongly of condemnation, not constructive criticism.

But that's just like human nature isn't it? We're often quick to accuse and slow to forgive.

Nevermind that the only thing you'd achieve is absolutely annoying the writer, you just have to do something to prove that you're someone that's much better, or more perfect than them.

And it happens in our relationships as well. If someone has offended us or said the wrong thing to us, we delight in telling them exactly what they should not have done, even after they've apologised and sought forgiveness.

We can't seem to simply move on.

No wonder we find it so hard to accept the fact that God's grace is all encompassing, that God is not going to rub our sins in our faces and that God will readily forgive us with no remembrance of the past.

We can't see past the examples that we are, and the behaviour of others.

What are your reactions when someone makes a mistake?

The follow-up

1 comment:

Della said...

Ugh, we had something like that recently with someone writing in to complain about some of the copyediting (blaming me for it, which was generous). It's really irritating, particularly because it wasn't necessarily incorrect and also because it involved page-long letters.

For petty things (with this kind of stuff and generally in life), moving on is a good thing! Although sometimes the more important things do need to be talked about. But then moved on from, too. It's all really easily said, not so easily done at times ;)

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