Our social media pages are overflowing with negativity and anger right now. Friendships have already been damaged by online disagreements that blossomed into knock-down-drag-out virtual fights. Already existing tensions in families have escalated, as sides are taken and heels dug in with postings of memes, posts, videos, and articles. Churches are being damaged by the vilification of one “side” or the other as theologically-backward or misguided.
Frankly, all this both deeply saddens me and kinda pisses me off. Because I’m watching people God created and loves saying terrible, hurtful things to other people God created and loves.
And that’s just messed up.
And that is not the world I want to live in.
And that is not the world
I believe God created for us to live in.
Recently, a Facebook friend wrote a beautiful post about this. Her words were too perfect to paraphrase, so I’ll share a portion here. Clara wrote:
“If we don’t like someone’s political beliefs, we attack. If we don’t like their religious beliefs we attack or criticize, thinking and saying our religious beliefs are better than theirs. If they have no religious beliefs, we attack. If we don’t like the color of their skin or their heritage we attack. If someone celebrates their heritage and it’s something we disagree with we attack. If we don’t like someone’s life style, we attack. If we don’t like how someone drives we scream and tailgate and get angry and we attack, either verbally or by the way drive by them glaring or flip them off. If we don’t like how someone looks we attack. If we don’t like how they raise their children we attack. If we don’t like how someone serves us or chooses not to serve us, we attack. If we don’t like…….. it never seems to end.”
So… here’s a challenge for you, inspired by Clara…
Let’s make July 2018
the month to STOP
the downward, degrading cycle.
Through our social media,
let’s FIGHT HATE + LIVE LOVE instead!
For the month of July — for a mere 31 straight days — commit to putting up positive, loving posts on your social media. Share things that are inspiring, heartening, and Jesus’-gospel-true. Let your voices be heard in ways that are healing and hope-filled.
Caveat: This does not mean that you need to be silent about the issues that you are so passionate about … no no nonono … far from it! Just be thinking and praying about ways you can share your thoughts online in ways that don’t attack or denigrate or alienate.
Why do this? How can changing the tone and focus of our posts possibly make a difference in a world so obsessed by negativity and hate?
Admittedly, it really is a little thing. Just one small act of living love in the midst of all the hate. But, remember: when we buy into the negativity, the anger, the cyber-aggression, when we join the fray, we are helping to create a world that focuses on what is ultimately unhealthy for us all.
So every act, no matter how seemingly small, can make a difference! And not just for those who see our posts and comments… but for our own spirits, as well. In a letter to a church that he loved, the Apostle Paul wrote this:
Fix your thoughts on what is true,
and honorable, and right,
and pure, and lovely, and admirable.
Think about things that are
excellent and worthy of praise.
Keep putting into practice all you
learned and received from me —
everything you heard from me and saw me doing.
Then the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9, NLT
The Greek word for “peace” used in that last line is eirene. It has the same meaning as the Hebrew word shalom: peace, wholeness, completeness. It means all the disparate pieces being tied into a beautiful whole.
I don’t know about you, but I sure think our world needs a bit of that eirene right about now…
So… what do you think?
Are you in?