Saturday, September 15, 2012

Be nice: a deliberate cyber-rebuke


Disclaimer: This is not directed at anyone specific, that would be passive-aggressive. It’s about a global trend toward negativity. 

“It’s my birthday,” I say, to a group of friends. “I got new shoes.” Another friend addresses the group, “Hope you’re all having fun shopping and eating, because all over the world, people are dying.” I look around at the group. Was that directed at me? I wonder. Who would ever be hostile like that in person? Very few people, really. But all’s fair on social media.

It’s a funny thing, this global connection. We’re able to speak to one another like never before, but I think we’re still getting the hang of using our “voice”. And the art of the cyber-smackdown is being perfected. That’s the removed, passive-aggressive jab at an anonymous person or group of people, a virtual group correction, complete with sarcasm or shame.

Now, maybe I’m a Pollyanna. I really don’t think I am, because I am always aware of the black cloud connected to the silver lining. Still, I guess I’m kind of an optimist, and I like to believe that every day is redeemable, that there is always the potential for joy despite the circumstances. Sometimes that makes the glut of public opinion challenging for me.

Say it rains. 90 “friends” will talk about being depressed, plans being cancelled, the death of the sunny day. A couple of “friends” will bemoan our current President, or a previous administration, who set all the pieces in play to create such a dismal weather day. 2 “friends” will list the toxins found in rain, and accuse any parent who lets their child play outdoors of deliberately killing their child via toxic rain. I’m sitting here thinking, am I the only happy person? My life is not perfect, and I have battles to fight today, but there’s more to be thankful for than to complain about. Is it just me?

Life is a mixed bag. There’s pain and there’s glory, and sometimes on the same day. We’re all together, but removed, experiencing life in thought bubbles and making rash judgments based on our 140-character character assessments. We process differently, we bring different experiences to the table, so, understandably, we will react differently. Because we’re unique, and that’s okay. Let’s give each other some grace, and maybe the benefit of the doubt.

We all have causes, we all have passions, life messages. I’m not saying let’s all post pictures of our lunch. But if someone posts a picture of their lunch, and you have a life message, can we just say internally, that looks delicious and it does not negate the passion I feel for my cause? Let’s enjoy each other, celebrate our differences, be friends and not “friends”. Let’s modify our “voice”, learn to communicate with grace and not anger. This Pollyanna would hear your message much clearer if I wasn’t focusing on you, kicking me in the shins, while you’re speaking.

Life is beautiful, we’re all made in the image of God, and there is always something to be thankful for. Let’s use our voice for good.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.


  1. You might enjoy reading "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. It's about finding things to be grateful for every day...It sounds like your "friends" might need to read it, also. :)

  2. Love it! Psalm 100:4!!! You're witty AND kind. Proving the cyberland that wit does not require being mean! yay joy!!

  3. wow, my pal is busting out with some SCRIPTURES!

  4. Good points.

    Jenn's Mom

  5. very good. its tiring to read critism from some who must feel it their resposibility to bemoan the eating of a chikfila sandwich or drinking a cola or why ones political views are crap or why ones parenting skills are old school or whatever. grace should be realized by all. no one is perfect but Christ.

  6. Out of all of your blogs I could read this one over and over! I have read facebook and at times catch myself rolling my head back. Like geez. Then inhale deep. And remember this stuff is important. Why? Because its important to them.

    I do understand the "cause" of hunger. So many people go without all the time. But does that really mean you should go without shoes. Try explaining that to cps "well, you see officer, I was gonna put clothes on my children today. But there are just so many OTHER kids without food. Someone has to sacrific"

    At any rate, I find my own patience tested when roaming facebook. And realize the world has much bigger problems then sometimes relationship status update for the fourteenth time this year!

    And when that happens I'm starring at this blog again! So much inspiration! Your truly amazing!

    Xx-Lizz Matthews


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