I’ve recently been debating the removal of social media from my day-to-day life. We are renovating our 100+ year old house and for a season are without internet access. It has been freeing to cut the invisible cord that has tied our family to television, YouTube, Pinterest, and podcasts.
The issue I have, the concern and heart ache I feel, is when I read posts from people who have shared a post from elsewhere- news source or otherwise, that includes hundreds of responses to the original post. By the time the twentieth or thirtieth person has responded much of what could be said or “needs” to be said, has been said. From then on, the reactions are a re-telling of a previous response. The further down the feed the responses get- the uglier, more brutal, and hurtful the comments become. It almost seems like a competition to be the meanest or most hurtful comment in the feed.
It is a mob mentality. And it is destructive. Scripture talks about when Jesus was anointed at Bethany there were people who lined the streets laying palm fronds and even their cloaks on the ground as Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem (John 12:12-18). This may have started with those who truly believed in who He was, but most likely people joined to be a part of something, out of curiosity, out of boredom.
We are called to be a part of community, it is inherent in all of us. God wired us that way. But when the mob mentality becomes one focused on selfish reasons or self-preservation, then it is at its most dangerous.
As one of my favorite authors described it, “The same crowd that a week before was crying ‘Hosanna’ was now chanting ‘Crucify Him,'” oh what a difference a week makes (John 19:1-18).
The news in America has been full of mob actions. Destructive behavior, destruction of property, of morality, of each other. Nothing good has come from it.
It breaks my heart.
The sweet joy and union of community that can draw us together for a purpose and a service to mankind has been used far too often to destroy.
What would it look like if instead of tearing down in our news-feeds we found the words to encourage and to build up one another? What would it look like, if here in the States and elsewhere, we gathered around those who were hurting and held them, protected them, lifted them up?
This is a personal choice. It is not an action taken on by a mob. It is something that must be selected by individuals.
Will you be one of the individuals? Will you go against the flow and build up instead of tear down? What would that look like if you decided today to speak one more word of encouragement and one less hurtful word?
It is up to you and it is up to me.