Yesterday, I logged onto Facebook mid-afternoon to see a barrage of bad news. Two Australian citizens put to death in Indonesia. A fight at the Supreme Court over the definition of marriage. Riots in Baltimore after a young man is fatally injured by police.
I don’t need to give my political views on any of these. And ultimately, I’m not sure I have enough details/facts on any of them to even give a thorough opinion, so my personal Facebook status read like this:
Between a newsfeed full of the Bali Nine, the Supreme Court decision, and the Baltimore Rioting; I think I’ll return to my happy place of removing food that is crusted to the floor and watching Doodlebops with the boys. Stepping down from the pedastal, I’ve got nothing today! 😉
No, I don’t believe in burying your head in the sand, but some days I can’t handle the national and world news on top of my own struggles with the kids and relationships, etc.
That said, social media and the internet has provided us an amazing platform to convey that we are experts on anything (ahem). However, there are some things that can not be conveniently hashed out in 100 words or less- or 500 words or less. The internet is meant to start conversations, not end them…
So I don’t understand how we as a “tolerant” society have moved towards, “And if you don’t agree with me, like this post, etc then please unfriend me.”
I think I did that once. And then I realized I was dumb. <- True story.
Let’s think about this-
Because your friend doesn’t agree with you on something, you want to end the friendship.
That’s what we have come to?
I’m thankful to have a lot of friends. And I don’t know one friend that agrees with me on every political, social, and societal view. I’m not sure my husband and I agree on every viewpoint the other holds. Instead of unfriending these people (or getting a divorce), I can try to learn more from these people and then decide that my convictions are strong enough that I won’t be waivered AND MOVE ON.
No need to throw in the towel.
I’m thankful for friends and colleagues and bloggers that think differently than I because IT KEEPS MY BRAIN WORKING. It makes me consider why I believe what I believe. It helps me develop into the person I want to be. It urges me to pull out my Bible and confirm why I believe what I believe.
If we preach tolerance, yet we have no tolerance for other humans, even our own friends, then maybe instead we preach friendship totalitarianism.
I’m thankful for a free society where I can share my beliefs and convictions over a social media channel or even this blog, but I yearn for a society where the hard questions and answers get talked about over front porches, dinner tables, and standing next to the grill. Where we don’t pose “you’re either with me or you’re against me” and walk away from the 140 character online demonstration. Where we don’t speak out of reaction but out of reconciliation. Where we listen to our brothers and sisters’ viewpoints before we smack them upside the head with our past, our Bible, or our virtual fists.
This is a personal reminder to myself as well. As Paul said, I know I am the chief of sinners. I know the tongue is full of poison and so often I use it for that as well. 🙁 I’m just hopeful for a world where we can hash out these tough issues in person instead of spewing hate over social media.