I guess I always knew it, but I didn’t know how to put it into practice.
For the seven years that I’ve been out of high school, one thing has remained constant: Facebook. Social media. The need to seek or give attention via “likes.” The life moments that are ruined by someone saying, “let me take a photo for Instagram.” Or, “hold on, I need to tweet this.” There is a small handful on your friends list that actually want to keep up with your travels and growing family; the rest are there to quietly scroll past you. And these are all okay, these are the new normal; a business owner checking their phone in the middle of your interview is habitual, now. We are a creation that would rather look at a screen than into a person’s eyes.
Now take these ordinary, non-confrontational relationships, and add labels such as “right,” “left,” “snowflake,” “racist,” etc. Add news reporting two opposite extremes of the same exact story, politicians racing to be the first politically correct so you will re-elect them, and insensitive memes regarding mass people groups. Now add the most destructive parts: a “comment” feature and “delete friend” button.
This election was the first time that even the most quiet of all social media users would raise their “share” or “like” button to show which side of the labels they found peace in, while in the same exact action, demonizing the other half of their nation. Trump didn’t force you to demonize someone else; the enemy did. He creeps in saying, “Hey, that’s funny joke about Mexicans. You should re-post that.” He celebrated when you called your Republican family member a “white supremacist.” And his ultimate victory was when you decided that person was not worthy of your grace.
I grew up being teased for being Mexican. I was told my eyes were the color of poop, that I was probably good at mowing lawns, and the term “wetback” was used while on a softball team. And when people laugh when they see old photos of me with blonde hair and contacts, I pretend laugh back. It took me a LONG time to love myself without the American expectations shoved down my throat, and it took up until recently to love others more than myself, without seeking their approval or love in return. That was, until that love was tested through this election, and even more so as Trump’s presidency continues.
It’s incredibly easy to ask a like minded person what they need prayer for, but are you willing to ask someone on “the other half?” We should be calling people into prayer, not calling people out of our lives. Making time to see someone face to face, not to scroll through a feed and remove everyone who doesn’t perfectly align with your political views. The devil wants you to see your friends and family through these blue or red filters, not as a child of God who needs to be loved and love others. We are all imperfect, we are all sinners, we are all in need of grace. And last year, I would rather rip my fingers off than type: Trump is imperfect, Trump is a sinner, Trump is in need of grace.
It’s insane how the enemy attacks us on the daily; having spent all of this time traveling to other nations and praying for strangers in villages year after year. Yet, myself, and most Christians I’m friends with, have become professionals at posting (good or bad) about our leaders before praying for our leaders. We post about how toxic a person is, before we turn our hearts to Jesus and ask to see them through His eyes. We delete people off of our friends list for them to remain different, instead of leading by example on how to love and accept others.
“Come as you are” the church says, yet the enemy twists what we practice into, “come as long as you’re how we already are.”
I get it, if you want to leave an angry comment. It must be burning inside of you, because that’s the new normal. But hopefully these thoughts make you uncomfortable, make you question if your social media actions reflect the gospel, and make you think twice of simply deleting someone because you find yourself more valuable than them.
This all what I wish I had put into practice much sooner. Let’s call it a “What I Wish I Had Known Wednesday,” because motherhood is coming in hot with revelation of Jesus’ heart for people, and His heart for the children that will be able to look into someone’s eyes, not matter how different their political views are, and ask “how can I pray for you right now?”