I was scrolling through social media a few nights ago when I stumbled on an article, Relevant Magazine. You should go read it! It’s awesome. It was talking about how social media has created a different type of Pharisee. Different method but same outcome. The Twitter and Facebook age we are living in allows us to get a glimpse into someone’s life. We have forgotten that it is just a glimpse and not the whole picture. So we carelessly cast judgements and make assumptions about people. We do not try to know them or understand where they are coming from or extend grace. NO! We would much rather call them out shame them and then congratulate ourselves as we watch people get what we believe they deserve.
This article was incredibly eye opening to me because it made me realize how often our advocacy can be harmful. It might feel good or right even to retweet the 140 character “racist,” “mean,” or “ignorant,” tweet. The thing is though 140 characters are not enough for us to form a nuanced opinion about a person. There just is not enough information. Instead of acknowledging the limitations of social media we sensationalize the negative aspects of people. As if one social media post can capture an entire human being.
There have been times when I have taken a statement made by a politician/celebrity and then judged them solely based on those words. Or talked about it with friends. Made fun of the person. This is not cool. I don’t even want to imagine what people would think of me if all they saw were the bad parts. The times I wasn’t gracious or understanding or patient or open minded. It is a scary thought. That is exactly what our culture seems to normalize though. A one-dimensional and narrow perspective of the “other.”
I talk about this a lot. Labeling. Making snap judgements etc because going to university has allowed me to meet a lot of different people with different world views and perspectives. It has made me realize that I want to live a life that respects the differences. That respects the person. It is not wrong to criticize but sometimes I think it’s hard to draw the line between what is constructive and what is an act of shaming. It is also very addictive this habit of judging others. Sometimes I feel better about myself by comparing myself to others. The thing is though this whole judging thing is SO not my job.
The other issue with our culture of shame is that it is not very constructive. It is not educational or at the most the only thing it teaches is not to say stuff on social media. It does not create a lasting change. It is accountability without the opportunity to learn or be better.
I want to be an advocate for justice but I do not want that to be exclusively online. I want to be gracious in my online life as I am (Hopefully) in my offline life. To be someone who listens BUT is incredibly cautious when speaking. This is difficult because I can be very opinionated. I think that is where mindfulness and intentionality comes in. An awareness of how I act, what I say and the way I live my life. I might (Read: definitely) mess up but progress will happen. This life is too short to not be LIGHT and LOVE!
Love. B. 🙂