We live in a day and age where we can say basically anything to nearly anyone from the comfort of our own homes without ever even meeting that person face to face. This can be a really amazing thing. I have friends who have encouraged and inspired me even though we’ve never met in person, and I feel so honored and privileged to know them. But this can also be a really terrible thing because we can rationalize away any argument against saying terrible things to and about perfect strangers. We slander the names of others on social media without so much as a second thought. What’s wrong with us?
I read an article today that broke my heart. I was going to share it here and call out the author, but a number of other sites have already done that, and, to be honest, I don’t want to give that mean writer the satisfaction of drawing even more attention to her tasteless, cruel words. I’m sure she’d love 15 minutes of internet fame, and I don’t really want to do anything that she’d love. Besides, she’s neither the first nor the last to draw attention to herself by being hateful to someone else, and it really just needs to stop.
So to anyone who gets their kicks from shaming, blaming, and defaming others online:
I was always taught that I should keep my mouth shut if I was incapable of saying something nice; I guess you weren’t. My grandma taught me better than that; I guess yours didn’t. I’ve heard that bullies only put others down because they feel insecure about themselves and making others feel like dirt gives them some kind of momentary high; I guess you’re feeling pretty low. And you know what?
There’s a petty, childish, insecure part of me that wants to look you up and find a picture of you and use it to make you feel as bad as your own targets. Give you a taste of your own medicine and hope you choke on it. But most of me has grown up. 99% of me doesn’t need to put another person down in order to stand a little taller. The majority of my all-too-human way of thinking considers first my two little girls. They’re young now, but already my toddler repeats everything I say and tries to do everything I do. I have to keep that in mind before I do something rash, knowing that she may very well follow in her momma’s footsteps. Most of my sinful heart feels sad for you. Sad that you clearly lacked a good role model who would’ve shown you a better way to live and sad for the world that so many are willing to do and say anything online simply for the sake of possibly going viral.
But you know what else? I have hope, too. Not in you, necessarily but in those who are following us. I hope they show us up. I hope they teach us how this thing called life is really done. I hope they instruct us in the ways of being kind. I hope they model encouragement and the end of trolling. And I hope you’ll re-read those mean things you said, measure yourself with the same ruler you use on others, and take down your life-stealing words because you really should know better.
The tongue can bring life or death; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21