|Darth Maul artwork credit|
'Yes, in the past, you lived the way the world lives, following the ruler of the evil powers that are above the earth. That same spirit is now working in those who refuse to obey God.'~ Ephesians 2:2, NCV
This past week or so, I’ve found myself an unhappily captive audience to some ‘stuff’ that has been going down on the pages of several Facebook friends.
I use the word ‘captive’ quite loosely because in reality, I DO have the choice to just click off the page/site and do something else, like:
- Take a walk
- Clean my toilet
- Or grab a cup of coffee and hunker down with a good book
Any one of those things or another would be a whole lot better than watching the sniping via status updates that come through my daily news feed, but often, I find it’s like a train wreck – you just can’t look away, although you desperately want to.
I know there are many positive things to be said about social media. You can get to know and converse with people around the world, anytime day or night. You can make new friends, reconnect with old friends and family members, find MIA classmates, coworkers and lost pets.
There are pages for reminiscing about happier times and places, for finding and sharing information and favorite photos, for posting links to funny videos, and pages on which to ask for and find prayer and community support. These are just a small handful of the things I’ve found to be good and helpful and fun.
But social media does indeed have its Dark Side, with Facebook and Twitter, seemingly more and more often lately, serving as the virtual playground for cyber bullies and mean girl cliques.
Over and over, people pick on and call out others in ways I believe they WOULD NEVER think of doing face-to-face, using the anonymity of their keyboard and computer/iPhone screen as their shield, and brandishing their words like Crocodile Dundee’s knife or Peter’s Narnian sword, even as they make feeble attempts to undercut their snarkiness and ill intent with well-placed terms of endearment (like ‘sweetie,’ ‘honey,’ ‘dearie,’ and the infamous, overly-used and totally worn out, ‘why, bless your heart’).
The playground then becomes the battlefield, and I’ve witnessed both the godly and the godless, Christian and carnal 'friends' warring and wounding one another. And THIS, my friends, should not be.
For others, when this occurs, the safest, easiest and best option would seem to be to retreat. Keep your head low and run away. Wave the white flag of surrender and give up. Kill the accounts and unplug from all things social media. To be honest, I consider doing this at least once a week.
However, if you’re among those of us whom God has challenged to faithfully commit to shine His light into a ‘dark’ place by bringing His encouragement, joy, hope, support, compassion and understanding to the land of social media, then take a deep breath. Take heart. And remember the following things:
- Not everyone will like nor want to hear what you have to say. But we weren’t created to please man, but instead, to please God (Ezekiel 2:3-7; Galatians 1:10)
- Have confidence in your God given gifts and purpose (1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Peter 4:11; 2 Peter 1:3)
- Put on your armor daily. Not just pieces here and there, but the FULL armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17)
- Stand firm (Ephesians 6:11, 13; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 1 Corinthians 16:13)
- Don’t give up or lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:1; Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 12:3)
- Press on (Philippians 3:14)
- And stick close to the Lord, Who is Your Commander-In-Chief and your place of refuge and protection (Psalm 32:7; Psalm 61:3; Psalm 91:1-4; Romans 8:31-37)
Because while there are those out there on the virtual playground who seem to delight in pushing and kicking you around, and even more on the cyber battlefield who want to crush, 'kill,' and silence you – there are that many more who are hungry and thirsty and desperate for the message of hope, help and healing that is available through a life given over to Jesus Christ.
The message God has seen fit for you to carry on and hold out to them.
'You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.' ~Ephesians 5:8-10, The Message