There are ways though that it harms both me and you...Every. Day.
We have lost the art of conversation. The art of debate. The art of dialogue. The art of disagreement. We have the lost the ability to have conversations that amount to much more than 140 characters. I know this because I see it every day. I see it in my employees. I see it in my peer group. I see it in my family and friends. Mostly I see it in myself. As one who ADORES the art of conversation, I struggle with it...and more now than I once did. Hmmmm.....
I don't want social media to go away, and what a naïve thought that is anyway....but, BUT I do want to see more of us...and that starts with me....working harder at conversation in our lives. Conversation means face-to-face dialogue. What it doesn't mean is e-mail, IM, texts, VMs, Twitter, PMs on any number of social media....it means talking...with a human. In person. It also means discussing tough stuff. Stop focusing on the easy, glossy, pretty, non-confrontational stuff. Dig in. Like our grandparents did....remember them?? I cannot imagine my Pa Pa condensing all of his stories and lessons into a text.
There has been a lot going on in the world this week - the big one and the small one in my backyard. I have watched people I know obliterate each other via social media. To the point that I was crying. A friend messaged me this morning about someone we knew and if they were okay because of a post they had done, and I said, "Well it is probably the headline last night. Go on Twitter and type this and you will see people we know (famous and non-famous) in a war. It was pretty brutal." I went on to mention one feed in particular and noted, "Their feed feels like when my parents became the first couple to divorce in our church/world...and I was this scared 9-10 year old in the corner wondering why my friends wouldn't sit with me in church anymore. I mean. BRUTAL."
...and that is when I had an a-ha moment.
What are we doing to each other in the name of the church? In the name of Jesus?
I forgive. I am forgiven.
I work to not judge. I do not want to be judge.
Beyond that...there is discussion for the betterment of both sides, and there is the throwing of gasoline on an out of control fire.
Which am I?
I can remember not to long ago...probably yesterday...when I threw gas on the fire...First. Bless. Me.
I can't/won't/work very very hard NOT to be that person anymore. I have been the one caught in the inferno. It is painful.
Before you post...anywhere.
Before you say anything...anywhere.
Would you say it to the person you are talking about if they were sitting with you in the coffee shop? Would you say it in that tone? Would you say it at all?
I am praying and giving money and sharing information about what ISIS is doing to Christians on the other side of the world...Every. Day. You know what else I am doing?? Praying for ISIS every day that they will becoming convicted in their heart one-by-one and cease the brutality.
Because of Romans 5.
"...6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; [d]though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified [e]by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved [f]by His life. 11 And not only this, [g]but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation...."
See...God didn't die for my righteous behind.
He died for me...the SINNER. He died for the UNGODLY.
So while we are all weeping for victims and persecutors, lives scarred, survivors, and even as some are being forced to re-live any number of sins done against them in the past or done by them in the past...we are all weeping...somewhere...inside or outside. We are weeping. It manifests itself in anger or depression or yes, even OUTRAGEOUS posts on social media. We are broken people operating in a broken world and this part SUCKS.
So....here is my challenge...to myself and to you.
Call someone up that you haven't spoken with in awhile who maybe you don't always see eye-to-eye on things with and invite them to coffee/tea or lunch or dinner or something...meet them, hug them, have a conversation with them. Love them. Let them love you. Show your humanity with each other.
If we all would simply tear off the boxing gloves and be HUMAN with each other...we would be a better people on this beautiful planet made for us by a loving God who died for US...God who even in our brokenness HE whispers to us...after every single failure big and small, "...stand up...try again."
To all of those crippled by the news of this past week, whatever news crippled you, whatever side you are on...I am praying for your spirit. I am praying that you can hear God whisper...stand up, try again.