In Light of Two Deaths

Anthony Bordain’s suicide came as a shock to me. My blogging friend, Lori expressed her dismay over Kate Spade’s death. Suicide appears to offer itself as the only solution. Both deaths reminded me of Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham struggled over the God question. In two books, Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief by James McPherson and Lincoln’s Battle With God by Stephen Mansfield, you get a picture of Abraham’s life. Abraham was put on suicide watch a few times. His childhood wasn’t a picture of Sunday dinner on Blue Bloods. His father viewed his reading habits as lazy and was a harsh man. Lincoln struggled all his life. During the Civil War, he dealt with dysfunctional generals. His wife was into the occult.

I could meander further, but I encourage you to read both books. Here’s where my heart rests…

Posting the suicide phone numbers for various countries on social media are wonderful. Let’s take it a step further.

Get to know your followers.

  • Who are your friends or followers online?
  • What do they struggle with?
  • Are you weighing your words before you speak online?
  • Are you speaking truth compassionately in their lives, or have you earned that right yet?
  • How are you fostering good relationships online?

It’s not about being a “nice Christian” as some accuse. A person must trust us before we can speak frankly into their lives; before we can hold them accountable, to love and empower them to live their lives fully, even if some of them struggle with mental illness. You can’t take back saying the wrong words, and even saying the right words aren’t always welcome. Conflict is inevitable even in the best of relationships. To foster good relationships online, changing how we use social media is important.

Someone once said that Facebook is like a person’s own paparazzi. People honestly do act like that as if we are individual celebrities in our own lives. What if we put others as more important? What if we changed the inner narrative from playing online to serving online? When that inner narrative changes, our heart changes and pursues more godly desires. We begin to hold ourselves accountable to better standards. Because if the change doesn’t happen in our own hearts first, we cannot serve the world. Social media is a tool, but not the answer.

For some, social media doesn’t offer a relief to the loneliness they feel. For the majority of the time, it feels like Christians are really good at sharing things from other sites without adding a personal touch. It’s generational or fear-based. Maybe they are thinking, “If I keep them at a distance, they can’t hurt or disappoint me.”

In today’s culture, people need to hear our stories. Even the dirty laundry can be helpful if it is God’s lessons being applied and not with the intent to discredit, slander, or put down another person in a passive-aggressive way.  My home church has a mission: #TransformChino. You can’t transform Chino if you aren’t risking disappointment, hurt, or even your life. People are messy, even dangerous. But back to Abraham Lincoln…

Abraham Lincoln struggled with mental illness, was on suicide watch, and did not give up on the God question. Because he didn’t choose to end his life, he was part of changing our nation. Anthony Bordain and Kate Spade were famous, influential people. Each of us who have a social media presence is also influential. We can be a positive change in a person’s life if we focus on our own relationship with God first.

Today, risk a new friendship. Risk sharing your heart online. Let others walk with you through your difficulties. God will put together your shattered heart time and time again if you get hurt. Tears will flow, but you are not alone. Have faith in the Unseen.

And don’t forget to read your Bible this morning.