Have you ever gone to the comments section of a controversial topic and read the on-going discussion? What is most obvious is that hate is overpowering and love is certainly missing.
Did you find yourself feeling sick to your stomach, and bothered by the way people were conversing with each other?
Some of the words and name calling made you blush, and you couldn’t believe others could talk to each other in that manner?
It’s easy for us to go anywhere on social media and see this type of interaction. It’s heartbreaking as a culture, we are so quick to spew hateful comments at another.
When did we become so hard-hearted and self-righteous?
Fingers are pointed in every direction and divisions are running rampant. Nothing is our fault, and blame is the running game right now.
We each know the best way, the only way.
Becoming Jerks Online
People known as trolls are patrolling cyberspace?? And I thought trolls were only in fairy tales.
In case you don’t know (as was my husband’s case) what a troll is, according to Urban Dictionary: one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.
Many of us are feeling threatened, anxious, frustrated and confused especially when we spend time on the web. We feel like we are on high alert.
Fists are raised in anticipation.
What Happened to Civility?
My parents used to tell me “if I didn’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all.” Unsaid rules of how to treat others were taught throughout my childhood.
The Golden Rule of loving your neighbor as yourself was still mainstream, or at least it was in my neck of the woods.
One look at the media and Hollywood stars, and we can see many examples of extreme negative behavior in regards to civility.
Spending Our Time Online
Overall, 73% of Americans go online on a daily basis. Along with the 21% who go online almost constantly, 42% go online several times a day and 10% go online about once a day.
5.6% of people identify themselves as online trolls and millennials are 2x as likely to be trolls than adults 55 and older. 1
At what point does our online behavior become our default, normal behavior in daily life? If you’re a troll online, do you become one during the day?
What are the Kids Learning
Kids growing up in the midst of these vitriolic attacks become ingrained with this type of behavior. Empathy and compassion can be clearly lacking in a world where relationships are only found online.
This problem is only going to get worse.
Is there any hope?
Jesus is the Reason
Jesus greatest mission was to show people love through His birth and His death. Love was the cornerstone of His ministry. He loved us, so we can love others.
We aren’t showing love like we should. Do you agree?
Even within the church, we label, criticize and spew hate. In fact, we go to church on Sunday and then by Monday we participate in questionable conversations on Facebook.
What can we learn from Jesus?
- Everyone is made in the image of God. As a result, God tells us we need to show respect to everyone regardless of their convictions, skin color, or other differing attributes.
- Show compassion because we are all broken and dealing with our own problems. Someone is at the end of a hurtful comment. As a Christian, we need to show grace whether it’s online or in person.
- Unite together to bring change. This heartless debating will lead us nowhere. For this reason, we need to collectively show the younger generations how to be compassionate and grace-filled.
- Affix no labels. Jesus didn’t look at people as conservative or liberal. Rather, He looked at them as needing a Shepherd. We all need rescuing from sin and given the gift of eternal life. Thus, our mission is to spread the Gospel, not stick labels on each other.
For this reason, the world needs more love and Jesus is the answer. A lack of love is quite evident on social media and in real, everyday life.
God’s love is for us all.
Therefore, we need to do the same whether it’s on social media or in our non-web based life.
7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God 1 John 4:7, NLT).
Exhibiting love to others should be a tell-tale sign of your faith.
(Romans 13:10, NLT)
10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
As Christians, we should stand apart from the mainstream culture.
(Ephesians 4:2, NLT)
2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
These are gifts of the Holy Spirit, is your fruit evident?
The biggest way we can share the Gospel is living out love each day. Jesus was love in every encounter, and it was evident throughout His life.
Everyone here on Earth needs Jesus and love.
What happened to love? Stop being a jerk and spread the love.
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