Below is an article I posted on Medium. It was more or less a journal entry so it doesn’t have the links to articles and verses the way my normal posts do. God bless!
What can we do to get it right these days? It seems like no matter what we say or do, someone gets upset and wants you to just shut up. So how do we respond? Do we fight? Do we flee? I think the first thing we ought to do is to consider a few things.
1. Did I really do something bad?
Was there malicious intent or not? There are times where there are genuine misunderstandings between friends, family, and even perfect strangers but increasingly (as a result of this stupid Social Justice Warrior movement) there are people who are finding a way to get outraged at any little thing. Perceived microaggressions, in my humble opinion, are the last thing we need to worry about. Having a particular skin color (white privilege) is not something you need to worry about. Likewise, cultural appropriation is not bad. Liking tacos, or rap music, or being a Christian wearing a Jewish Talit while praying in Hebrew to Jesus on Rosh Hashanah is not something worth worrying about; it’s not saying “I own this culture” it’s saying “This is great! I want to enjoy it too!” If people are going to get butthurt over every little thing, then they need to sort their own life out.
2. Could what I said/did (even if it’s not bad) have been taken the wrong way?
Yeah, this happens ALL the time… trust me, I’ve had to deal with this more often than I would care to admit. This isn’t the same as giving in to the #SJW militia, it’s about being a decent human being. We (or at least I) don’t intentionally try to upset or offend people.
I think about things a lot… probably too much. The vast majority of the time when discussing sensitive issues with others (i.e. gun control, black lives matter, etc) I genuinely want to understand where they are coming from. Why? Because 1. I could learn something, and 2. it helps to frame the conversation in a constructive way. For example, I’m not black. My friend is black, but I am not. I have my opinions on the Black Lives Matter movement based on what I’ve seen and experienced with their supporters. She says, “Black Lives Matter!” and I say, “All Lives Matter!” She sees BLM as a human rights movement, whereas I’ve seen it as a black supremacist group. In our conversations, going deeper than the buzz words and media reports, we were able to reach a healthy understanding.
Where the rest of social media would look at us and our positions and say we’re far apart on the issue, we actually agree on almost everything. We both agree that all lives matter (including black lives). We both agree that violence is not the answer. We both agree that America has been guilty of systemic racism in the past (though I disagree that it is the same now) and that we need to stand united to fight against it where it exists. We even agree that there are fringe elements within the movement that make racist claims of black supremacy. Above all, we found our unity as believers in Jesus Christ which makes us brother and sister who are seeking the same things. The conversation helped us to realize, on an individual level, that we want the same things but that there had been a misunderstanding and lack of communication on both sides.
3. Am I being humble?
The common theme with both of these is that they both require humility. Am I being humble enough to recognize that I’m not perfect and I don’t have all the answers? Am I humble enough to realize the same is true for others? Can I bring myself to step back from my politics or opinions to say, “I was wrong!” or “I never really thought about it that way.” It doesn’t always mean you’re going to change your mind, but at the least it should give us pause to pray and think about it to find the truth and what we really believe.
4. Is this a fight worth taking up?
We could probably save ourselves a lot of headaches by asking this very simple question. I tell my seven-year-old, “Just because you have a thought, doesn’t mean you have to say it.” It’s a mantra that I’ve had to telling myself. When we go on Facebook or Twitter and we see someone post some asinine meme or article our initial reaction is to correct their error. They then repent of their foolishness and admit that you are, indeed, correct (said no one ever). What happens? They respond in kind. Sure their arguments may not be as good and they start running around in circles trying to justify themselves, but I’ve seen so many people on my side doing the same thing. The truth is: you are smart, but so are other people. Just because they don’t agree doesn’t mean they’re stupid.
But to get back to the original point here, not every thing needs your response. Not every issue is as important as the last. Sometimes it’s better to just let it go and move on. It’s good advice for social media, real life, and even marriage/parenting.
5. Why am I doing this?
Lastly, before hitting the Post or Share button, it would be wise to consider why you are doing it to begin with. What is the purpose? What good will it do? What harm might it cause? Is it worth it?
For me, I love Jesus and I want to honor Him. He made me with a heart for truth and justice, which is why I kind of lost my mind after the whole Hillary Clinton thing ended with no recommendation for indictment from the FBI. It was infuriating and it was at the end of a season where I’d been quite distant from God. I placed my hope in our ability to fix the system rather than keeping my eyes fixed on what He was planning for us as a nation and as a people. As a Christian, my exhortation to all of you (but especially my Christian brothers and sisters) is to consider why we do what we do, and why we say what we say. Is this going to be honoring to God? Does it stand for what He says is true? Is it good for others? Note that last one says good for others, not does it make them happy.
People are going to disagree with us. People aren’t going to like us. People are going to speak ill of us, but we need not recklessly add to the problem. We don’t need to be the reason they don’t like us, we simply need to do what we’re supposed to and let them do business with God.