Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and pluck the internet from existence. There are times when I thrive on social media and enjoy how people from all over the world can interact with one another. I enjoy the community that it creates and the opportunities it has given people. But, what I do not like is this idea that some people feel they have the right to voice their opinion with great cruelty and hate.
I see this hate all over social media in people comments to one another, toward public figures and post that go viral. Recently, a mother posted a picture of her family’s sleeping arrangements to her private Facebook page. In a matter of days the picture was shared and went viral. It is a picture that innocently shares how her family sleeps all together in one room. Within a few weeks she began receiving people’s opinions on her current situation in the comments. Some were good while other were plain awful. Surprised by the reactions she posted a video blog to share her emotions. You can watch it HERE. This is when my heart cried out for her! I wanted to take away all her pain and sit there in her laundry room hugging her and telling her it is going to be OK. But I can’t. So instead, I want to write this post to share my feelings on this topic.
Dear Internet Bullies,
I write you today to share my heart concerning the hate linked with social media these days. It saddens me that there is this idea that one can get away with treating someone so poorly just because you are not face to face with this person. If you wouldn’t say what you are about to post to their face, then you shouldn’t post it. We must ask ourselves a series of questions before we post anything to the internet. Is this post hurtful? Is this judgmental? Would I say this to their face? How does this post portray me as a person?
The internet has a way of making us feel like we are a part of people’s lives. It is a GLIMPSE into someones life but we aren’t given a whole picture. That being said we have no idea what is going on behind the camera. We have no idea what a family or person is really going through, the hurt of pain they may be suffering. We are called to love people, not judge them. Matthew 7:3-4 says, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how you can say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when there is the log in you own eye?” or Matthew 7:1 says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” It is not our job to judge, that is God’s job. Our job is to love and share the good news, that’s it.
Trust me reader, I am guilty of judging myself. I am not saying I am blameless on this issue. It is a battle I face everyday in my head. I am thankful for my God and savior, for his forgiveness and wisdom to grow in this issue. I challenge us all today to reach out to others in love an lets throw hate in the garbage where it belongs. If you do not agree with the decision/choice someone is making, you can choose two things: Respond in a loving, non judgmental manner, knowing your opinion isn’t truth but only an opinion. Or you can listen to you parents wise words , “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” Let us always veer on the side of caution when choosing our words. Words have a way of settling into ones soul and cutting them deep. Some may never recover.
Remember, these are real people that are reading your comments. Real people with real lives and real feelings. Lets me mindful of what we post.
Now, I also want to talk to the victims of internet bullying.
Dear Victims of Internet Bullying,
People may tell you that it comes with the territory and you must take it, the good and the bad. That isn’t the case. You do not need to take it or even read the comments. A very wise women taught me something and I hope I can apply it if/when this ever happens to me. I’ll paraphrase this a bit because I don’t remember her words exactly. She said, “You can not read the good and say you just won’t listen to the bad. It doesn’t work that way. If you are going to listen to one, you listen to both. It’s all or nothing.” Choose nothing. Take every single comment with a grain a salt and let it roll in one ear and out the other. We only have one person that we need to look to and that is God. Trust him and what he thinks of you alone.
When you understand your identity is in Christ alone, no one can tell you differently. What we we worship or invest our time into gets to tell us who we are. Invest in Jesus because he loves you more than anyone else.
Elizabeth Boyce is a mother from Texas who has chosen a simple way for her family to stay together and support each other during a time of transition and uncertainty. She is a mom doing the best she can, just like all of us. If you get a minute I would love for you all to head over to her blog and show her love and kindness. Let’s show her there is more love in this world than there is hate. Let us show how amazing God thinks she is and how much He loves her. Let’s feel her comments with God’s truth! If we want to see change in the world we must stop waiting for others to do it, it starts with us. Let us step out in faith and change this world! Let us fight for goodness and love.
” Be the change you want to see in the world ” Ghandi