I’ve thought about this for a long time now. I usually refrain from making comments on-line about direct political and/or social issues. I do admit to making faith, my personal faith, based statements publicly which I truly believe can benefit all who read them. Why? Because my faith is central to all that I am and do. I am a nurse and a lay counselor. I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. I’m getting older and have some life experience. It has always been my goal to share what I have learned and am learning with my kids, hoping that they could learn a few things quicker and maybe easier than I have. Why? So their lives could be lived with even more love and joy than I have had and I’ve had a lot. I care about people, all people. Every life is valuable.
Like most of the rest of the world I am shocked, saddened and disturbed by the recent terrorist attack in Orlando. It is awful, just plain awful. The blatant disregard for human life is despicable. It has been said in times of crisis like this we see the “true nature” of people. From the news reports we have seen, we know that friends, acquaintances and even strangers helped each other at the time of the shooting and are continuing as the families of all those who died and the nation grieve this senseless act. However, we are also witnessing the flip side of people. News reports, newspapers, blogs and all the social media outlets are filled even more than “normal” with people’s opinions. This awful act of terror seems to have given permission (again) for everyone to voice their opinion in often thoughtless, tactless, stubborn ways. It is not a new problem. It is an age old problem. We as people often act out of fear or pride. Truthfully we are often just so scared of what someone might think of us that we not only allow that fear to stop us from doing or saying the right thing but we may initiate doing or saying the wrong thing. I find it very interesting that “bullying” has become such a public issue in recent years and yet we bully each other daily in social media. I voice my opinion which may be in direct conflict with yours but instead of having a conversation exchanging educated, factual information or opinions stated as such, we don’t take the time to think through our comments. We criticize freely and are upset when someone criticizes us. We don’t think about how our words will be received. Words are powerful, very powerful. If you don’t believe me take a moment right now and think about the most loving and the most detrimental person in your life. What comes to your mind when you think of them? I would wager all my savings to say it is something they said to you. You remember their words and those words have effected decisions you have made in your life. Words said in print have no tone, or body language to help explain their meaning. They have to stand on their own. Written words on social media are often read by people that do not know you well or possibly not at all. They do not know your family background, education, health status, financial state or faith. They just have your words. What words do you want to be known by?
Here is my other thought, the truth is we influence most those within our circles of life. We need to trust those we learn from. Trust comes with relationship. Relationships take face to face time and effort. Maybe we should rethink many of our public posts. Important but controversial things need to be talked about, that is the only way things will ever change. Maybe we should be talking with those in our circle of life. The ripple effects of those conversations will be more effective than any rant on social media.
My challenge is for the next 72 hours is if you feel it necessary to share your opinion on anything, not just the recent terrorist attack, but your faith, gun control, climate change, presidential candidates or the government, your favorite fast food restaurant anything, promote your opinion in a positive way rather than tear apart someone else’s viewpoint. Let your belief stand on it’s own merit. Do not cut apart someone else’s belief. This is a proven tactic in business management. Praising what your employees/team does right promotes better, more productive work far more than concentrating on their mistakes. Deal with mistakes but concentrate on the positives. It seems so simple, so practical, why don’t we do it in our everyday lives? How might our culture change if we concentrated on the positive things? Why don’t we try it and see. Share this challenge. Tell your encouraging stories. Let the world know there are good things happening in amongst all the tough stuff.
Biblical love truly lived out is that those in my life are far more aware of what I like about them than what frustrates me. – Gary Thomas