Amidst all the connectedness we experience in social media, there is a strange epidemic of people feeling alienation. It hasn’t infected everyone. There are some who navigate social media relationships without ever feeling alienated or left out.
But it has left a scar on many. Maybe that’s because with our lives “on parade” we are more likely to expose our fragilities to one another. And if people aren’t careful about maintaining the human element of relationship in spite of the screen that divides, we can end up shattering or bruising those sensitive spots.
What areas are sensitive?
Differing viewpoints and opinions.
I’m not suggesting that we all have to relinquish our opinions in order to get along. A healthy exchange of dialogue and ideas is beneficial to our growth and understanding of one another. The problem lies when a closely held belief is challenged in an aggressive or dehumanizing way. There is also a fatigue factor of soapboxes being handed to every person in your network. Every person has a cause to fight for and every person has a platform from which to contend for their way of thinking. At first, we may have empathy but after being bombarded with message after message, people either become wounded by the hits to their core beliefs or they grow numb to the call to care. Both options are bad. Bringing grace to each and every post and comment we share in social media leverages our opportunity to reach others. Grace reaches in for the person despite what separates us from each other.
Social media can provide a big neon arrow pointing out the times and ways a person wasn’t included. Whatever the reason, feeling left out is painful. Grace is inclusive. By it’s very definition, grace extends a hand to one who doesn’t deserve it. Grace-filled social media interactions are careful not to cut off others.
The comparison trap.
Having access to one another’s highlight reels 24/7 is a shortcut to missing the whole story of other people, flaws and all. Seeing only the best of others seems to put a spotlight and magnifying glass on our own shortcomings and areas of lack. When our focus turns away from the ways we’ve been blessed by God and toward the material items or relational pieces we feel we’re missing, we fall into the trap of striving to have what we feel we lack. Tonight, I got a text message from my precious mentor that said, “I love you just the way you are.” Grace doesn’t require you to achieve first and receive later. Grace accepts and gives freely.
Go therefore and reach in.
Go therefore and include.
Go therefore and accept.
Go therefore and freely give.