Our relationship with this world is a strange paradox. The same can be said for our relationship with social media. It can bring friends from around the world into one place – as small as the palm of your hand. Sharing stories, major life events, participating with peers in all of the up and downs that life dishes out. Celebrating the victories with a retweet or like, bemoaning a crisis through a comment. We have distilled life into bite-sized pieces of 140 characters or less.
Yet, the frailties of our humanity are magnified. A headline from the Toronto Star on Saturday decried “Death by Social Media.” As a social media person, I read these stories with an avid interest, searching my own motives and agendas about being online. This, unfortunately, is not the first tragedy of its kind. A friend recently posted about a similar situation on his blog, reminding us that we need to remember to humanize our social media.
Every post is a person. Behind those avatars, profile pictures, and cover shots is a real live breathing human person with a soul and a story. Each post, tweet, blog, and instagram is the reflection of a moment of life. And every life matters. They matter to God, and as a Christian, they should matter to me. Whether it is a life barely begun in the womb of a woman, a life that is malnourished because of poverty, one that is at risk of being trafficked as a slave or sex-object, or one that just somehow fell through the cracks of nets that government and society have set up – they are important.
God sees them. Even if we don’t. He invites us to participate in His Kingdom by “hollowing out a great space in the hearts of those who will risk this loving and compassionate life-style.” To extravagantly love others is to risk hurt, rejection, and pain. To experience the sufferings of Christ. As I search myself, I hope I find a soul hollowed out to be filled with love, rather than one fits “the world’s mold that will leave us misshapen in our souls.”
**italicized quotes from “Tent Revival Homecoming” presented by Bill Gaither © 2011