Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Can WE Change Facebook?


We have all witnessed Facebook taking a turn for the worst in terms of content. After the election was over, I was SURE that the posts would lighten up, but they seem to have only gotten worse - louder somehow, angrier and more divisive. Just when I think that it can’t get uglier, it does. 

As I quickly scroll through the posts, looking for the little nuggets of family updates and funny animal videos, I am overwhelmed by the hatred that people currently have for each other, and slightly confused by the need to “stand up for what we believe in” on FACEBOOK.

I had the thought the other day as I felt myself reacting to someone’s post, what are these statements actually doing? Why do we feel the need to virtually throw our opinions out for all of the world to read without context or explanation? Can the reader understand in any way where we are coming from when they are on the other side of a screen? 

We seem to be done attempting real conversations about hard things and rather, throw a fast ball right into someone’s face and instead of asking if they’re alright, we just walk away. That’s the luxury of the computer screen. 

It’s inhumane, y’all, and we’ve all done it. But, when did we lose our sensitivity to others? At the end of the day, we’re all people - maybe with differing viewpoints - but all just people. 

Maybe we should all take a hard look at not just what we are saying, but how we are saying it?There seems to be no difference in the tone of the posts that Christians make and non-Christians make; no difference in the right side or the left side.

The bible is clear that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves - even the virtual ones - but is t also clear that WORDS are important in accomplishing this? Actions certainly speak louder than words, but let’s be real - words do speak. And they stick. They can’t be unsaid or erased, even when forgiven. They tend to linger. 

Sharp words, even deeply felt, only serve to make the gap between “us” and “them” wider, not narrower. Speaking Truth in love is designed to be within intimate conversations one on one, allowing sincerity and genuine love to come through to those on the receiving end. Harsh words on a screen are just that - harsh. 

So let me ask this of us: are we building each other up as much as we are tearing each other down? Do people know us for what we are for or for what we are against

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the ned of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:29-32

This tells us that it in fact is important to the Lord how we talk - even on social media. Now, let’s not get all technical here and say that the words aren’t spewing from our mouths but instead our fingers, because God always deals with the heart issue and out of our heart comes our words. “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart.” Matthew 15:18. The words we say, the words we whisper and, yes, the words we write

Lord, let us be women known for building others up, not tearing others down. Let us be the ones that change this divisive environment into a beautiful forum for love and admiration. 

God created us each with different ideas, bents and circumstances so that we can think for ourselves and form our own opinions. We shouldn’t be surprised that we will never agree on everything - we just won’t. We live in a broken world, and a free country. What if we celebrated the idea that we get to have an opinion instead of getting angry that “theirs” isn’t like “ours”. 

We can choose to focus on places of agreement instead of places of argument. When something comes into view that makes our hearts break, makes us see that there is terrible injustice in the world and maybe even moves us to anger - let’s be women who put down the iPhone and DO something about it.

Gather people - your actual people - and make a plan. Visit your local representation, write letters, make phone calls - but let’s be the ones who stop throwing stones across a computer screen. The world - our country, especially - will be better off and WE can be the ones that start making a change! Let's not be absent from social media, but be uplifting on social media - replacing words, articles and comments of hatred with love. Can you imagine the movement that we can start? 

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