Hate. It is in our world and it’s not going away. As a person who loves yellow, the sun, smiley faces, love, hugs, kisses, and other “Life is Good” ideas, the hate is getting to me, I mean, REALLY getting to me.
I made a mistake, a big one. I opened up Facebook while we were on our road trip. I wanted to check messages, check in with loved ones, and I don’t know, take advantage of 3G data, which we don’t have in our small town. When I opened it up, I was greeted with messages of HATE all over MY news feed. People HATING gays, Chick-Fil-A, Romney, and Obama. I literally threw my phone down and started crying.
“Are you Ok, Babes?” Scott asked, as he was driving through Indiana.
“Why is Mommy crying?’ asked our son.
“I can’t take it any more! I can’t do this! Hate is EVERYWHERE and now it’s ALL over my Facebook feed. There isn’t one status, one announcement of JOY, no one is spouting off God’s LOVE. Freedom of speech has turned into FREEDOM TO HATE! Is this what people learned in church this morning? Using a book of worship to find WAYS to HATE and JUDGE? What about Jesus? What about LOVE? What about God’s LOVE for US that He sent us JESUS. What about we were created in His image? What about leaving the JUDGING up to GOD? Where is the LOVE? Facebook was supposed to be about connecting with people, not a place to HATE.” I was absolutely sobbing at this point, I might have said more, it’s been a few weeks and I have been praying about this post since. I did say these things, I do know that.
“Maybe it’s time to erase your Facebook account. You keep talking about your frustration with it.”
“Maybe it is.” Eventually we moved on because when it comes to faith, God, religion, and other things, Scott and I agree with each other. We believe in Jesus’ love. We believe in the 10 Commandments and we believe in the works of Jesus Christ. (I am not saying this to get YOU to believe what WE believe, or to debate differing opinions. I am just telling you OUR understanding of Christianity.)
I have been thinking about this idea for weeks, getting rid of Facebook, and all sorts of social media. I have revamped my news feed and now I see less hate, but it’s still there. I have come to this conclusion, hate is everywhere. I can’t avoid it. I am sticking with it, I can’t run away. My kids are growing up in a world connected to the Internet. Someday, social media will be a part of their world and I HAVE to learn how to handle it so I can HELP them handle it.
I am not saying I want everyone in my world to agree with me. I am not saying that I hide people who have different ideas and view points than me. I mean, people I love very much disagree with me about a lot of things and I don’t hide them. Conflict or differing opinions are different from HATE messages that are appearing on Facebook day after day. The ones that aren’t funny or adding to the good of society. Honestly, it’s NOT just on Facebook, but anywhere where the online person is allowed to openly say anything. I see it everywhere. Comments on blogs and articles are the best examples. When reading a well written article about a mother’s postpartum depression this morning, I accidentally scrolled down to the comments. I tried not to read them, but I did. Instead of saying, “Wow! Thanks for helping me.” So many online commenters called the writer entitled, spoiled, and went off on her. Hello, the article was about DEPRESSION. Is there any pause to think, “There might be a new mom out there feeling this same way, who might be getting ready to do something drastic, and MAYBE she read this and realized that she is not alone?” No, it’s so much easier to get on our soap boxes and judge and HATE, because hating is easy. (I did by the way, TRY to write a message of support and I will keep trying until the online service lets me do it.)
Since our road trip, I still see the hate. Yes, I still cry, SOMETIMES. When I see the hate, I pause. I think, and if it keeps bothering me, I pray. I pray about the cause of the hate, the message that is being sent, and I pray for the correct reaction. Most of all, I pray for the power to live a Christian life. What would Jesus do? What does my cross around my neck mean? I can tell you, it’s not a symbol, but a reminder that God created me for a mission and it is my job to live it. Does MY online and offline presence match the mission of Jesus? I can’t control the world, heck, I can’t control my kids, but I can control my behavior. I can do my best to lead by example and I can pray.