“But DAAAD all my friends have Snapchat, and all my coaches use Facebook to coordinate the team and let us know about schedule changes!” …I remember the argument so well. This was the day I let both my daughters know the household rule…NO Social Media until you are 18 (the age they are legally adults). The argument has ebbed in and out in the years since then, but now my oldest (just on the cusp of turning 18) admits it was a good call on our part as parents. After seeing the years of drama and discord it has caused among her friends, family, and community, she feels it really is not worth it. As if high school were not enough stress already, this new method of comparison, fighting, and backbiting only exasperates the drama. Boy am I glad high school is over for me…
Wait a second…Social media is still like a big high school drama. We now see highlight reels of people’s so called perfect lives, perfect meals, perfect children, and glorious shots of everyone else’s fun activities for us to compare ourselves too. We fight over everything from politics, religion, music, and the way we “like” or “not like” one person or another’s posts. We have lost our sense of propriety and ability to speak respectfully. Yes, too many of us have fallen back into the old habits we dreaded about high school. Only problem is now, we are older, angrier, and short of restraint simply because the nebulous “they” cannot physically reach out and smack us across the table or slam the door in our faces.
We cannot rely on “I am a good Christian” to protect us. Some of us “Good Christians” have said and done the most hurtful things to others (and even to ourselves) in person and online. Yes, Jesus loves us, forgives us, and saves us from all our sinful, shameful, and hurtful ways, but He is not a shield to hide behind while passing judgement and hurt from the keyboard on our phones or computers. Jesus warns us “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). Is there anyone, anywhere that you are willing to forgo Jesus’ forgiveness for the sake of being angry or judgmental?
We are called to “love one another” (John 13:34-35) this means even when we cannot look them eye to eye. Set your belief aside Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Atheist, or Agnostic; isn’t “love one another” good wisdom no matter where it came from? Remember, we don’t even have to know someone, yet hurt them from thousands of miles away. I challenge everyone, regardless of belief, gender, race, or however else you identify; go forth in love, kindness, patience, and most of all empathy for all humankind. To my fellow Christians; I challenge you to go forth in love with a full heart knowing to love your neighbor is far more encompassing than the people next door to your place of residence (See Luke 10:29-37).
We owe it to ourselves and our children to be better than we are and leave this place better than we have made it. Please click responsibly.
-Written by Christian Love