Having grown up in an increasingly digital world, I have been able to see how the use of social media has changed over the years and the effect that this has had on people of all ages.
We are more connected than ever—and that can be a really good thing. Family members who live far away can now see each other whenever they want and interact in a way that is much more personal. Pictures of exciting life events can be shared with those who may not have been able to make it. You can instantly let your loved ones know that you are safe during a tragedy. Inspiring stories and heartfelt videos can unite us all in our humanity.
The downside of this digital age, though, is that we can seemingly never escape the negative. My coworkers and I see it every day in the comment sections of our pages. People who didn’t have a voice before now have one, but most days the negative ones seem to be shouting the loudest.
It can be exhausting and dehumanizing in many ways.
I often wonder if, amongst all the information that we are constantly bombarded with, there can be a chance for us to just listen. Are our comments made out of love for others, or are they made in an effort to tear others down?
When it all boils down, I feel like we all have a lot more in common than we would care to imagine. Humanity has a common thread running through it—we all have a desire to belong, to feel loved, accepted and safe. I can’t help but think that when we try to understand where someone is coming from in their opinion, we will find it comes from a heart not so different from our own.
My heart often feels heavy when I think of how divisive the climate of our world is today. It feels like we are held in this tension, just waiting for something to give.
James 1:19 says, “Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath….”
Why are we so quick to tear others down? Does it make us feel better to make others feel less than?
Do the comments we make and the way that we live our lives lead others to Christ or do they sow seeds of division, hatred and bigotry?
Proverbs 6 outlines the seven things that are an abomination to the Lord, one of those being: “the one who sows discord among kindred.”
The Bible adamantly warns against those who sow discord. Those who turn people against each other, people who are meant to be united.
The digital world can often be a breeding ground for this hatred. But would it make a difference if we were able to look into the face of the other person when we were making a comment? So much anger is vented anonymously and irresponsibly. In a culture of blame and shame, we rush to judgment, or save our worst invective for those we don’t agree with. Can we learn to look into their eyes and see the face of Christ?
When it comes down to it, how could we not?
Are the people we rage against not also made in His image and likeness?
How can we dispel this hatred and divisiveness so prevalent in our world today? I propose something simple—seeking the face of God reflected in everyone we come in contact with. It may not solve everything, but it can surely be a step in the right direction.