The other day I was reading an article about video gaming. It was discussing some concerns that gamers have with other gamers modifying things to their advantage. There’s video game communities where you can become whoever you want to become. We say what we want because the social responsibility we feel sitting face to face with a person we can see feel and hear is not there. We can shut them off if and when we want. We don’t feel empathy, compassion, or even respect online because, it’s online. It doesn’t matter, it’s not “real life”. We only see and hear what others willingly post online. We present to the world only what we want them to see. The problem is we don’t get the chance to really KNOW one another. We don’t invest in one another. When all we share are the highlights of life we become a personality not a person. We become the star of our own script. I’m not saying we lie or try to falsely misrepresent ourselves. I’d call it more like social- media correctness. No one wants to air their dirty laundry for all the world to see. So we don’t post the lowlights. We don’t post the my rent is due, I’ve lost my job, my kid is into drugs and my car was just repo’d real life stuff. We forget that there’s more to one another than just what’s posted in social media. Because we don’t post the real life nitty gritty, our Facebook friends forget we’re just like them and they’re just like us.
The reality is we are all people at the other end of those computer keyboards. We all have families and friends, heartaches and losses, challenges and triumphs, flesh and bones, fears and frustrations. We all struggle and suffer. Just because you don’t see it or know about it doesn’t mean it’s not real. We all live imperfect lives in this imperfect world and I’ve heard it said, none of us will get out of this life alive.
I can’t help but draw attention to the line connecting social media and news media. We forget that the purpose of the news is to report stories. I’ve mentioned this before and I think it’s worth the reminder that not all news stories are reported with truth or integrity. (I’ve had some first hand experience with this.) Sometimes reports are spiced up and misrepresented to help create something for the purpose of reporting. On the other hand not all reporters are out to misconstrue the truth for a story or agenda. However, even those reporting with truth and integrity have difficulty reporting all sides of a story in a 60 second blurb. Making judgements based off what we have heard being reported escalates tensions and is counter productive to finding solutions. Reacting with anger and promoting hate is certainly not leading to resolutions.
In the world of counseling, marriage and relationship experts often advise couples to stop keeping record of one another’s wrongs. That doesn’t mean pretending a wrong didn’t happen or even allowing wrongs to continue to happen. In fact acknowledging the wrong, and admitting responsibility for contributing to it when necessary is important to mending and making retribution. Finding appropriate ways to work together to over come differences, learning to communicate, compromise, and at times forgive and ask for forgiveness are equally important. The reality is all relationships are work. In a sense we’re all married to one another, stuck here on this planet together whether we like it or not. We all live under the same sky and rely on the same sun and moon. We may not always like one another, or agree, but we can treat one another respectfully. Can we not find commonality in the struggles of humanity?
When we are wronged, when injustice seems to prevail, do we not still have a responsibility to do the right thing? We’re supposed to take the high road, be the bigger man, stay true to integrity. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:9-11 ESV,
“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”
Seek peace and pursue it! Imagine if we all made an effort to live peaceably. Now I’m not unrealistic, I have four teenagers and no matter how much I seek peace in my home, it is a balance that is often difficult to find. There are times when it’s not realistic at all. Sometimes addressing concerns gets messy. By addressing concerns directly, staying focused, not blaming one another, and not dragging every past event back into the current one helps us to find resolutions and keeps hard feelings from erupting. Moving forward, being willing to change, offering forgiveness, those are brave and noble steps. Being angry and holding onto resentments is the best way to maintain life exactly as it is. Because in order to change we have to be willing to change. Because I desire to see good days I will seek peace and pursue it, will you?