I’ve heard them. You’ve heard them. They cry out on social media, “Your silence enables wrong! Your silence shows which side you’re on!”
My heart tells me to comment on that soapbox rant, my heart tells me to type out my opinion on the matter. I have a lot of good points, don’t I? Not only that, but I also want them to know that I do indeed have an opinion. I care. I am aware. I am not unloving.
The problem is that my heart is often wrong. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
(Jeremiah 17:9) Just because my heart compels me to let my fingers fly across that keyboard, letting the world know where I stand on today’s issues, does not mean that I ought to.
There was a time when I was much more active on Facebook. I shared posts and I chatted on comment threads. I liked to be right and I liked having a voice. However, I began to notice how it affected me. I dwelled on it far too long, even when I wasn’t at my computer or on my phone. I began to wonder if it was affecting the person that I was, the person that my friends and family spent time with from day to day.
Eventually I realized that there was a greater need for my voice in every day life, every day situations. As a Christian, I could be much more influential on the people around me by living a Spirit-filled life. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
Don’t get me wrong. I fully believe that social media has an influence on our thinking. Ha, I wouldn’t be typing this if I didn’t hope it would help someone today! It encourages me when I see the internet filled with good, factual information, presented in an orderly way. I enjoy reading the passionate opinions of my friends when they present them in a loving way. I’ve learned a lot through online research. The trouble comes when our contempt for any opinion but our own drives us to contention and consumes our precious time.
It’s okay if your Facebook friends don’t know whether or not you like wearing a mask. It’s okay if you don’t post about your political stance. What’s not okay is when we just blow up the internet, and never touch the lives of those around us in a truly tangible way. It’s sad when the people who are a part of our physical life begin to view us as that person who is always going on a virtual tirade. Are they afraid that we’ll bring up those hot topics during an in-person conversation? Is that all we talk about? Is that becoming our identity?
Oh, that our identity may be “children of light”! “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”
Maybe it’s time to unplug, to look around, to spend real time with the people you love. If you’re physically able, get involved in your local church ministries or a community service. When you pray for opportunities to make a difference, you will find that God is faithful to provide those opportunities. This is not silence. This is Christianity. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)