I need to give a disclaimer for this post. It is going to come off as more rambling than my other entries. It is also a post very much geared at myself. Everything mentioned in this post are things that I personally struggle with. I am horrible in getting into debates, arguing over pointless topics, being passive aggressive, and being vague in my statements of others. I am pointing the finger at myself. My hope is this relates to others as well.
Famous celebrities tend to hire these wonderful people called publicists. Some publicists do better work than others. Some celebrities listen to their publicists better than others do. What is common across the board is the need for a filter in statements. It does not take long to look at the headlines and see the benefit of having one. Actors like Mel Gibson have made some pretty big blunders with statements in the past. Sometimes it is not even a bad statement, but simply misunderstood and given a negative spin by others.
Sometimes we could all use a publicist. Social media has given us instant access to tell others exactly what we are thinking in any given moment. This has become so rampant it is almost unenjoyable to be on something like facebook or twitter. Someone becomes angry and lets out a string of interesting and colorful words. People give their blunt and undeveloped opinions on politics, theological issues, and the latest celebrity relationship without stopping to think at all about what they are saying.
People openly slander others on social media. Christians can often be the worst at this. The average Christians post on the internet makes me embarrassed for them. We almost become a monster when we can hide behind the computer. It almost doesn’t seem real to us. We feel we can say what we want on social media, but then go about our lives in public as though nothing ever happened.
We vaguebook constantly. What is perhaps even more annoying is the people who vaguebook about people vaguebooking. Not only have they become successful in vaguebooking, but they have managed to be a hypocrite in the process. I find this level of vaguebooking to be the more annoying out of the two. We leave these passive aggressive statements on our status. We brag about how we are above the juvenile internet debate style of those talking about politics or religion, but in the process show our even more juvenile nature by bragging about our superiority to others.
It is the type of person who openly proclaims they removed people from their contacts for vaguebooking. What was the purpose in that? Was it to show you are a no nonsense person? Was it to show your better than those who vaguebook even though you are vaguebooking by making that statement? All you are doing is either complaining or bragging. At what point does this become edifying?
I’m not clean of these issues myself. I regularly have an insert mouth moment on the internet. It is dangerous when we have the ability to share what we are thinking at any given moment. Some of the greatest opportunities for our pride and arrogance to show is on the internet. It can give the average man reason to pause and consider hiring his own publicist.
We do not really need to hire someone to take care of this issue. Sometimes all we need to do is just stop and process it. Out of the mouth come the desires of the heart. When we come off as hostile, arrogant, and prideful then those are qualities that are rooted in our heart. We need to deal with the heart.
We can be vicious to each other as Christians. We can tear each other down in blog posts, facebook debates, and random message boards. We love to complain about how silly someone else is being online to show that we are above them. I saw this in droves over the chick fil a fiasco. After a few days of the chick fil a supporters and the protestors clashing there was the third party who made a proclamation of how silly both sides were being. There was never any attempt to resolve any peace, but it was rather a “throw in our own decisiveness in order to hopefully make everyone else feel stupid”. It is all so superficial and childish. The people who were silent on the whole issue were the ones who seemed to get it the best.
We thrive off of debates. We say we hate drama, but we cannot help but feed into it. I’ve known people to only come on my facebook when they sense the opportunity to start up a debate. Why? To show off their intelligence? To show how superior they are in their ideas? Social media is bursting with prideful people.
How do we fix it? Start by stopping before you say or post something. Ask if this is something that could bring glory to God. Is it something that could potentially damage the testimony of the body of Christ? Check your heart for motivations. Are you about to say something with the purpose of showing off, tearing someone down, making someone feel stupid. Is it intended to be sarcastic or passive aggressive?
Where will the pointless debating lead? Where will the passive aggressive statements take you? As a whole our social media etiquette is awful. I often fail to behave in a way that is pleasing to God in these situations. I have put my testimony at risk plenty of times. I can honestly say it has never been worth it.
Focus on the motivations that strive for being a peacemaker, confronting evil, encouraging others, encouraging beneficial dialogue, and being respectful. If you cannot do these then simply do not talk. It is really that simple. Stop, pray, evaluate, and choose.
It is sad to me. Social media has had the grand potential to be a bold witness for God in our interaction with people, the words we chose, how we go about a tense discussion, etc. We could potentially be a huge example for Godly living in social media. Instead the worst comes out of us. I’m calling foul on myself and the rest of us. I think it is time we stop being juvenile as we so easily claim others tend to be, and actually be an example.