We live in a world of filters . . . of staging and editing and careful presentation . . . a world where people would much rather post the life they wish they had than live the life they actually have.
Inauthentic . . .
Fake . . .
Doctored . . .
I think most of us could do with a dose of authenticity and reality. I always appreciate a person willing to share their very real struggles whether that be face to face, in real life, or on social media. I always appreciate an unfiltered and honest post on Instagram or a real life story shared over a cup of coffee. And I think it is so important that we’re willing to share who we really are and the challenges we’re really facing.
But there is a vast difference between being authentic and real and putting all your personal business (that is meant to stay personal), every single argument, thought, and opinion out there for the world to read, see, and hear. There’s a fine line between authenticity and reality and oversharing and saying far too much. Some things, some thoughts, some feelings, and yes, some arguments, are meant to stay within the confines of your actual life with those with which you are the closest and trust the most.
Once you put something out there, you may be able to delete it, but the damage done is not always easily rectified. Words spoken, typed, and shared can not just be taken back. And if you’ve put it in front of an audience of tens or hundreds that only multiplies the hurt. The five or thirty seconds it took to type, say, share, or post those words can make for days, weeks, months, or even years of heartache.
I think social media is the worst in this regard, and we must be so cautious because we too often forget that behind the receiving end of that screen is a real person . . . a real person with very real feelings . . . a real person that Jesus loves deeply and that we’re called to love. And those words that are so easy to put out there can do such immense harm to others and to our witness.
We have such an amazing tool in social media, in the internet, in technology, in the ability to reach tens, hundreds, thousands, and even millions with just a touch of our phone screen, tablet, or computer. But it is also a very dangerous weapon if not used properly. And the rules haven’t changed y’all. We’re called to love God and love others . . . and if the things we say and do are pointing others anywhere but to Christ, we’re missing the mark.
“And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
We should not be calling out our family and friends on social media. If you have an issue, talk about it, in person. But don’t air all of your dirty laundry in front of 500 of your closest friends.
Further, we must use discretion in what we post and repost, what we choose to share and say. We have must stop using authenticity, moral arguments, and freedom as an excuse for sin (Galatians 5:13) . . . for sinful words, thoughts, actions, and behaviors towards and in regards to others. What we say, what we do, and what we share/repost all matter.
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32
I would be lying if I said I’ve never made this mistake. So I won’t tell you that. What I will tell you is that I’ve regretted it every time I’ve said too much, engaged when I shouldn’t have, chosen to be “loud” and obnoxious rather than use discretion, and with each passing year, I’m more guarded about what I share and don’t share. Yes, I will continue to stand up for what I believe is morally and biblically right. That’s not changing. Yes, I still love to share snapshots of our lives here and there, but some things, some discussions, some thoughts are best left to in person, in real life, sharing where we can look one another in the eye and remember that we’re not just talking to a screen. I don’t want to be a sounding brass or clanging cymbal. I want to walk in love whether it be with those reading what I’m putting online or those in my actual, real life. And sometimes, it’s best to close (or delete) the app, to stop scrolling, put your phone away, and live your life fully present where you are with those you love the most.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
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