When I go hiking in the snow or the cold, it never fails that two of my toes will go numb. My shoes are good, the socks are thick, and my feet are dry, but it doesn’t matter, those two toes will go numb. Numb is a good word that describes the world today.
A news story will show on my Facebook newsfeed, like the one about the woman who was mauled by a Grizzily at a campground. Instead of reading it, however, I immediately click on the comments. Reading human behavior is more interesting than reading a sensationalized news story created for clicks. The comments show a lack of awareness and compassion. When a friend of the victim shared a comment, trying to bring humanity to the conversation, to jar people awake from their numbness, it was met with more coldness. From one-upmanship to “being right”, the chat section of a journalism news page is crawling with people who are okay with being unkind because they are anonymous. None of them will likely meet up in the same aisle of the grocery store.
I normally see comments from people who only read the headlines. I also see opinions from people who may or may not have read more than the headlines. It’s like trudging through the snow next to a frozen lake. I won’t find comfort here, neither will that friend of the woman who died.
Did you also know that, if someone leaves a comment on a Facebook public post, like a news story, their friends will see it, too? Even more tragic, if that person was a Christian and, on one hand, posting an unkind comment, but showing on his profile a whole bunch of Jesus-loving memes and quotes. We don’t often view our social media platforms from all angles to see what kind of picture it paints of us to others.
It’s time to warm up those numb toes and build a fire!
Using social media for good means exercising a lot of self-control. This is a biblical thing.
Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” A broken city brings to mind the recently viewed photos of a bombing in Asia or the blackened remains of a once beautiful forest after a fire. We can do better.
Using social media for good means deciding if what you will say will be helpful in building bridges, making good decisions about your tone in the text, and listening to others, even if you disagree with them. Building relationships online takes just as much time as in-person. A click of a button doesn’t give you the right to speak truth into a person’s life. Time might if you persist and pray. Until then, build a fire against the cold. Let the light contrast the dark and push away the shadows of night. Invite someone to share your light. It took a long time for a person to become numb; it will take an equally long time to thaw them into a human again.
Be kind and thoughtful. The struggle is worth it.