I’m always taken a back by the bi-polar posts of many on social media. One moment you see someone posting bible verses and words of encouragement; the next is an unflattering post or comment that can best be described as a thinly-veiled attack on another.
Why are we so determined to let our inner aggressions and unresolved issues take center stage online?
I’ll be the first to admit that I, too, can be guilty of “acting without thinking,” when I carelessly use my Facebook page or Twitter account. It can be easy to fire off a quick comment that may make sense in the moment that, in hindsight, was better left unsaid. Whatever temporary satisfaction we think we are gaining is quickly overshadowed by the reality of true self’s conscience. Even the edits or quick deletes do not undo the damage of our actions.
Sadly, those “immediate gratification” remarks reveal the true color of our heart and provide a window to the cracks and pockmarks in need of repair. They show the hurt, the ignorance and the suffering of our soul. They are the tell-tale signs of an imperfect life.
Living unfiltered in today’s digital world is becoming more and more of a norm. It is not a case of right vs. wrong; it is the evidence of the amplified reach of today’s electronically social world. Like it or not, the same cracks and pockmarks so loudly evident in the everlasting reach of the Internet are not new. Those hurts, wounds and lack of knowing have long-lived in mans’ hearts and in the relationships we have with others.
What differs today is how permanent and viral our actions have become.
Judging others by their cracks is wrong. Using the one-dimensional words or actions of others to decide the status of their heart or the true emotions they feel is a sin. I pray forgiveness for all who piously decide the worthiness of another by the digital personification we have ascribed to them.
When was the last time you actually spoke to the ones you judge? That old classmate who is too afraid to share the struggles and challenges they silently battle? You know that friend, the one who carefully shares their joys and faith, yet shields the reality of the pained existence they live. Do you pick up the phone to call when you see those cracks emerge, or do you continue to judge and gossip?
Shame on all of us who hide behind the seemingly protective shield of the Internet. Whether we live a digital persona that is conflict with our inner self, or are simply too afraid to challenge our own erroneous thinking by reaching out to those – we call friends – who are clearly hurting, we are slowly eroding our civil society. It is fundamentally wrong to judge others, based on their carefully crafted-posts and the ignorant comments of others.
As we approach this season of gratitude and Thanksgiving, I pray you will look deeply at the relationships you have with others. Examine your heart for the cracks and pockmarks you are so carefully trying to hide and set about repairing them. Build real friendships and relationships with the people in your life, not the shallow and impersonal versions you will find online.
Life is ugly. It has cracks and warts. Some wounds run deep and wide. But ignoring them – sometimes out loud and poorly – will neither bring joy nor repair.