Okay – anyone else out there dismayed at all the seemingly mean, insensitive, even outright heartlessly cruel comments and posts on social media these days? Good Lord, what on earth are people thinking? I just don’t get how people can so easily and carelessly say such brutal, hurtful things, obliviously crushing each other’s feelings.
We see this kind of ridicule or “bullying” on teen’s pages regularly and chalk it up to behavior acceptable for the seeking-out-who-I-am teen years. Though most of us don’t necessarily care for this behavior, even from our teens, we have come to expect it.
What I didn’t expect, however, is this kind of careless crushing coming from supposed adults. Reading comments under news headings this week my eyes were jolted open and my heart stunned. Under a Facebook article announcing the new Dancing With the Stars cast, I was blown away by comments of dislike, ridicule, cruelly dissecting the “Stars,” and outright hatred towards some of them, as well as the show itself. One of the tamer comments that really bugged me was something to the effect of why do producers always put _________ with Stars that he can’t win with, why don’t they sometimes put the old ones with _____. After reading that comment, I couldn’t help but wonder what the “Star” paired with _________ would feel after reading that. If it was me, my feelings would be totally crushed! To think that someone whom I have never harmed, someone whom I have probably never met, who doesn’t know me would publically call me a looser – What was that commenter thinking??? How could they publicly post a comment like that? And, again, that was a very nice comment compared to others.
No, I just don’t get it. I wonder; how would any of those commenters feel if any of those remarks were made to or about them? Would they be upset? Would their feelings be hurt? Would they feel it was just “free speech?”
So, this morning I can’t help thinking that this sums up the largest problem in our country today; the anesthetizing of Americans. We seem to just blurt out whatever is on our minds, uncaring or oblivious to how it will affect the recipient of our words. No, we don’t seem to care about the feelings of others any more. Gone are the days of considering our words before we say them. Gone are the days of putting another’s feelings before our own. And sadly (I can’t believe I’m saying sadly to this), I haven’t even heard the dreaded “just kidding” after a hurtful comment lately.
Yes, it would seem, gone are the days of loving your neighbor as you love yourself.
Seeking some wise words this morning (from Wisemen, Scholars, etc.) which give direction on caring for other’s feelings, I came across a Biblical verse that seemed to hit the mark: Galatians 5:13-14 (NIV).
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Then verse 15 says: If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. That seems to be exactly what we are doing – biting and devouring each other with our words.
So, will we completely destroy each other with our words, with our Freedom of Speech?
For me, that is too scary to think about. Therefore, today, I am sweating out the worldly anesthesia I have allowed to numb my senses. I commit to once again being mindful of other’s feelings, as well as my own. I renew my efforts to think before I write or speak and refrain from making casual, hurtful remarks.
Yes, today, I purpose to love my neighbor as I love myself,
In not only my actions, but in my words as well.
Today, I redefine my own Freedom of Speech.
What about you – will you sweat out your anesthesia today?
Will you join me in a personal redefining of your Freedom of Speech?
Think about it, ok?