A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. – Proverbs 15:1
For the next 40 days, maybe more, I will not be on social media, so any of you who are, please don’t take my lack of response personally. I am simply tired of seeing so much anger – anger that steals joy, weakens immune systems, alienates friends, starts feuds and wars, breaks up marriages, damages mental health, and in other ways is counterproductive.
Please don’t think I’m sticking my head in the sand. (That posture leaves other parts of the anatomy in a vulnerable position.) I do realize that there are horrible things going on in the world, and no, I am not ignoring them or saying they aren’t important. Many horrendous things I can do nothing about So why wreck my health and add to the burden?
However, there are other things that I can and should do something about, I just don’t think that “something” is to rant about it on social media. When I see these rants, I am tempted to either (1.) join in the rant and escalate the anger, or (2.) argue and escalate the anger. It’s a lose-lose situation.
If I see racism, rather than posting a self-righteous rant on social media, I should volunteer in an organization that helps people of color better their lives. This may take the form of health care services, tutoring kids, or starting a sports team, crafts class, or drama troupe to channel energy in positive and productive ways. At the very least, I could invite a friend of a different race to have coffee with me and share our thoughts for a couple of hours.
Instead of railing about the lack of respect for women, I should go and do something respectable.
Instead of blasting the politicians I don’t like in a tweet, I should find one that’s doing something good and tell people about that person in private conversations when everyone is calm and open. I should contact that person, saying that I am supportive and praying for him/her. (Being a politician can be lonely.)
Granted, these kinds of approaches don’t grab the widespread audience a Facebook rant might get, but in the long run, I do think they bring us closer to a solution, instead of throwing gasoline on the fire. I have never seen anyone have a change of heart because of a clever attack, name-calling, or emotionally charged accusations.
As always, I will respond to emails, texts messages, and comments on my blog posts. But please, be nice.
Prayer: Father, You have always been gracious to us, not treating us as our sins deserve. As Your people, help us to treat others not only in the way we want to be treated, but in the way we have been treated. You have reached out to us in love, how can we not do the same for one another? Give us gracious, patient, and understanding hearts, in the name of Your Son Jesus, the personification of grace. Amen.