Are You a Social Media Mongol?

I can remember when I first heard of Facebook. One of my missionary friends talked me into signing up for it as a way to keep in touch. I thought it was weird, but I created a  profile on August 7, 2007.

My first post was on my oldest son’s wall: “Hi Garrett….I like facebook better than myspace…it doesn’t have all the scary stuff.”

I’m not sure what was scary about MySpace, but there ya go.

In the 10 years I’ve been active on Facebook, I developed a love-hate relationship with it.

I love the way I can connect with friends, family, and ministry contacts. I love the way I can pray for people right there in the comments. I love getting to say Happy Birthday to a friend I barely knew in second grade.

You have to admit it…birthdays are way better with Facebook!

I hate the way I get sucked into silly, time-wasting quizzes, games, and videos. I hate it when strange men send me “Your smile lights my world” messages. And I hate it when the social media mongols take over the FB feed.

What is a social media mongol, you ask? I’m not talking mongrel, which is a fancy name for a mutt dog. And I’m not talking about a mogul, which is a successful entrepreneur running things like a boss.

Let’s look at who the Mongols were.

“The Mongols had a mission concentrated in one word – destruction. Their take-no-prisoners mentality led them to conquer more of the world than any other empire in history. And it wasn’t just that they could ride horses. It was that they could snipe you through the heart with an arrow while riding their horses” (List25.com).

Social media mongols have a mission, too. To prove their point to the death. It’s not just that they can multi-task on their smartphones. It’s that they can slash folks through the heart with their words while multi-tasking on their smartphones.

Politics, social justice, religion, sports. There’s always something bringing out folks’ inner mongol.

I’m tired of it. Full-blown weary.

There’s a difference between a mongol post and an opinion post.

Opinion posts have a civil tone. Mongol posts are hostile.

Opinion posts promote healthy discussion. Mongol posts promote bickering.

Opinion posts inspire others to think. Mongol posts instigate outrage.

I have a wide variety of Facebook friends. Christians and non-Christians. Black and White. American and Abroad. Scholars and High School Dropouts. I love them all, and they love me.

Some of the most mongol-ish posts come from Christians. This should not be! There’s no excuse for a follower of Jesus Christ to resort to name-calling and out-of-control ranting.

I find the anonymity of social media gives us a level of bravado we wouldn’t have in person. If someone in our presence did something we didn’t like or didn’t agree with, I highly doubt we’d jump up and call them ingrates or idiots. Yet folks do it all the time on Facebook both in their original posts and in their responses to the posts of others.

We need to do better, Jesus people. The world is watching.

We can stand for God without stomping all over people.

We can state our opinions without slashing naysayers with renegade words.

We can surf social media without shipwrecking our reputations.

I don’t always get it right, but the best way I’ve found to keep my social media presence on the up-and-up is to invite Jesus into the equation.

If Jesus was sitting beside you, would you click “post?” Would you allow every hot-button issue to push your buttons? Would you share that angry post a friend of a friend worded “just right?” Would you look at Jesus and say, “They started it?”

I love how my friend Suzie Eller put it on Facebook today.

Right now it’s easy to get drawn into debate. It’s easy to jump from one argument to the next.

What did Jesus do? He kept going. He kept praying. He kept teaching. He kept encouraging. He didn’t place his energies or time into debates to nowhere, but intentionally continued to change the world around Him.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we don’t have time to argue and debate each and every hot topic.

If that hot topic stirs something inside of you, then do what you hope others will do. Let it begin with you.

Love tangibly. Live truth wholly. Pray fervently. Give sacrificially. Open your door to others. Share the Gospel with someone seeking hope. Listen for His voice over the rumble of divisiveness.

Ask for anointing. Hold out your hands and heart for wisdom. Pray for direction. Then live that. Keep going.

I promise that when we stop debating, we’ll find there is purpose right in front of each of us that will change the world, or at least the corner God has shown us.

#livingfreetogether
#ComeWithMe

These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Luke 10:2 NLT).

We are God’s workers, and when we get sidetracked by arguments, we can’t be about His business. Time is short. We don’t have time to bicker, friends! We. Don’t. Have. Time.

Lord, help us. 

Help us resist the pull of proving every point. You are the point. 

May our social media posts point people to You.

May Your constant presence influence our social media presence.

May we slay our inner mongols and be people of peace and truth spoken in love.

In Jesus’s Name I pray, AMEN

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When Jesus comes to the party

My Labor Day weekend included a snappy trip to Mississippi to celebrate my  Aunt Neda’s 90th birthday. We threw her a big party in the Methodist church fellowship hall. I think the whole town showed up to honor a woman who has lived the bulk of her 90 years right there in the tiny town of Inverness, population of less than a thousand.

I saw her classmates and cousins and cute-as-a-bug great-grands. And then I saw Jesus.

My aunt’s health and mobility has plummeted in the last few years, so much that she had to take on some daily help. God blessed Aunt Neda with a gentle and kind-hearted helper named Debbie. Like Aunt Neda, her life revolves around the simple living of Sunflower County. I suppose Debbie’s life became much more lively since taking on Aunt Neda. For 90, she’s pretty spunky.

As the only person of color in a reception room, I’m sure Debbie felt a little awkward, but she sat on a padded pew next to the piano with her head held high and waited while Aunt Neda’s guests filed by one-by-one. Eventually, she enjoyed a slice of cake and some ginger ale punch, but, for the bulk of the time, she never moved from her post. Her eyes rarely left Aunt Neda.

After saying my hellos to plenty of party guests, I sat down next to Debbie for a spell.

“Debbie, I really appreciate all you do for Aunt Neda. You are a gift from God to our family.”

“Aww, thank you,” she shrugged. “I’ll tell you what I told Miss Neda. I’ll take care of her ’til the end. You don’t got to worry none ’bout that.”

She said it so matter-of-factly, as if it was no big deal to make such a vow. And you know what? I believe she’ll keep that promise.

She has no obligation to our family other than the hourly wage she earns. I’m sure the work can be trying as Aunt Neda’s needs become more acute. Yet Debbie feels a calling to see our matriarch to the finish line.

Isn’t that just like Jesus?

His gaze never leaves us. The instant we need His help, he’s right there. No matter the mess we get ourselves into, His steady love comes through. Even though our commitment to Him is fickle at best, He’s in it with us for the long haul.

When I think of Debbie, I think of Jesus.

Makes me wonder if that could be said of me.

The literal meaning of “Christian” is “little Christ.” Though we won’t truly get it right ’til heaven, a true Christian’s goal must be to be like Jesus. To act like Him. To talk like Him. To love like Him.

I have a long way to go. How about you?

Lord,

Thank you for giving me a glimpse of Your character in the mocha-skinned face of a woman named Debbie. Bless her, Lord, for her humble service and staunch commitment to see a strong-willed treasure to the finish line. 

Please, Lord, help me stick with people even when things get sticky. Help me serve others even when it’s inconvenient. Help me love like Jesus.

In Jesus’s Name I pray, AMEN

 

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