Facebook Friendsgiving

Posted by Lauren Sparks on November 26, 2014 at 5:00 PMDelete Since it is the day before Thanksgiving, I thought I would share with you one of the things for which I am most thankful.  I LOVE social media, and I am thankful for Facebook.  Probably not what you expected me to freely admit to in a blog post, and hopefully I haven't ruined any small shred of positivity you felt toward me.  There have been many articles and blogs written on the evils of spending your time in newsfeeds and using posts and tweets to communicate.  Or Instagram - no words needed!  I agree with some of the thoughts expounded on by the social site naysayers, but I can't help myself.  It brings me joy to open my Facebook app and catch up with what my friends have been up to.  I love to share with my husband some of the interesting or funny things I see and we laugh together (check out public figures Jen Hatmaker, Jim Gaffigan, and Jon Acuff if you want to add some hilarity to your feed).  I save numerous articles my wise friends post for later consumption (and I'm sure that one day I will have time to go back and read them all).  My pastor, church staff members, and friends post scripture passages and inspirational messages that help me turn my focus back to what's important.  I get to keep up with missionary families that we are involved wtih and pray for.  This is the coolest time in missions!  Never before have we been able to see the fruits of our prayers and assistance in almost real time!  And the updates I see from friends and friends of friends helps keep me praying throughout the day.  I know when someone is having surgery, has lost a pet, or is just having a lousy day.  And I get to pray for them right then and there - and/or send them a note of encouragement.  I LOVE THIS!  

I love ALMOST everything about social media.  Now for the negative.  I hate the avenue the internet gives us to put others down and spew hateful opinions.  And I see it all the time.  I see mothers critcizing each others' methods.  I see hurtful words about homosexuality, about religion, about politics, and about race.  You name a topic that is the least bit sensitive and I'm sure someone has been attacked with regards to it.  I believe there are malicious people in this world who's purpose is to maim, but I don't believe that this is often the intent of the words put into the cyber world.  Often, well-meaning individuals will voice opinions or concerns to "take a stand".  If you see yourself at all in that sentence, I beg you to have a seat and absorb the next few words.  We MUST use not only caution, but love, when speaking - certainly - but most defintely when typing or texting.  Not even the best judge can decipher your tone in written words.  And you won't be there to clarify when it is being read.  But above all else, we must get down off of our soapbox if our speeches are hurting others.  We often use the freedom of speech we have in this country as a freedom to say anything we want without fear of consequences.  But everything we do has consequences.  You have probably guessed that Ferguson is the instigator for this blog.  Before you posted whatever it is you posted, did you think about the fact that Michael Brown has a grieving mother?  Did you think about the fact that Officer Wilson has a family that probably feels kicked in the teeth every time someone insinuates that he is an evil murderer who intended to kill and has no remorse for it?  There are people of both sides of the issue who are being hurtful.  And people on both sides what are being hurt.
I don't mean to suggest that you don't have the freedom to express your opinions and beliefs.  We all should feel free to do this.  But know your audience.  if you want to discuss a sensitive topic, it should be with a close friend or family member - and probably in person.  if not, you risk alienating yourself to your audience and injury to others.  We cannot forget that although there are important issues, love is the most important.  The Bible tells us this.  "The commandments, 'You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,' and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command:  'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  Love does no harm to a neighbor.  Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."  Romans 13:9-10  I have taught my daughters that they should measure the words they want to say by asking themselves, "Is it true?  Is it helpful?  Is it kind?"  If they can't answer all questions with a "yes", it needs to be kept to themselves.  I think this is a good rule of thumb for adults too.  What do you think?

And now, I shall get off MY soapbox.