It didn’t take long after the birth of social media for social media to become the “go to” outlet for all things controversial.
What’s most of the time called the freedom of speech can easily morph into ugly bondage – enslaving us to bitter anger and hostility. In addition, online diatribes serve as virtual thieves that often steal from us the joy of life since: (1) you’re never going to change someone’s mind as a result of an online post, and (2) that controversial article/blog/quote/meme you posted will do nothing but suck you into a black-hole of “back & forth”, wasting a boat-load of mental & emotional energy.
Just like you, I’ve come across a myriad of self-righteous, judgmental, hate-on-hate, bordering-on-the-insane quotes and videos these past days following the presidential election.
Keep in mind that the hateful, violent actions of people nowadays are nothing new. We (all of us) have had a “bent”, as C.S. Lewis describes, toward wickedness since Adam & Eve told God to shove-off in the Garden of Eden. God, in essence, said, “Ok – have it your way.” And here we are. Jeremiah (the prophet, not the bullfrog) wrote, “The [human] heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.” (Jer. 17:9)
James, the half-brother of Jesus, did not write, “The online post of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” But rather, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (5:16) Prayer, i guess you could say, is “posting on God’s wall.” 🙂
In no way am I saying, “Don’t ever post your opinion on something.” (Heck – I’m posting my opinion right now.) And, clearly, there are moments when it is helpful to share with others a particular stand we’re taking. What I’m encouraging us to do is this: when we’re baited with something controversial, toxic or socially combustible, consider visiting with Christ first about a response i.e. what the response should be, or if there should be an online response at all. Jesus said, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33)
Remember this axiom from the world of counseling: “hurting people hurt people.” There are people who are hurting right now. And, unfortunately, some (not all) are manifesting that hurt with violence, hate, bullying and intimidation. If you can’t handle that – my advice would be to stay off social media, preventing yourself from becoming entangled in a never-ending battle of words and emotion.
Jesus said, “By this all people will know if you follow me, if you have love one for another.” (Jn 13:35) That’s not always easy. But, Jesus never said following Him was going to be easy.
Democrat, Republican, Independent, etc., we must, as Paul warned, “not be unaware of the devil’s schemes.” (2 Cor. 2:11) Jesus, describing Satan’s strategy to divide & conquer, said, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mk 3:25) We, as followers of Jesus, must come together, not under the US Flag, but under the Cross of Christ.
Pray – and watch God do His thing.
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick