Funny Things on the Internet – Would Jesus LOL?

The other day I saw a BuzzFeed list of “Things to Make You Want to Burn Down the Internet.” It was full of jaw-dropping spelling and grammar mistakes, and shocking ignorance – like a person asking if the rain fell up in Australia since it’s on the bottom side of the earth.

I got some giggles and horrified gasps out of it. I thought about sharing it.

Then I thought not.

On the one hand, these things are hilarious. It’s natural to laugh when a comma would have made all the difference in the meaning of a Facebook status. It’s chortle-worthy when a girl writes that she “got her hair cut and died today.” (When’s the funeral?)

But the further I scrolled down the list, the more uncomfortable I became with my own amusement.  Some of the screenshots were genuinely funny mistakes, but others were simply painful examples of ignorance and poor writing skills.

Maybe that internet user is very young, I considered.  Or maybe they are dyslexic, or English is their second language.  What if they have developmental disabilities or disorders, or suffered a brain injury in the past?  I don’t know their story.  There could be any number of good reasons why they look “stupid.”  Was it right for me to be snickering at them?

But sometimes people are just stupid!  Lighten up, Bethany!  It’s supposed to be funny!

Yeah, sometimes I do need to lighten up.  With my overanalyzing INFJ personality, I tend to take everything seriously. 😛 But if there’s anything we INFJs do well, it’s standing up for people, championing those who are considered “less than.”

So I ask you, when should mockery get a free pass in our hearts?

Is it right for us to mock those we perceive as less intelligent than ourselves?  Does ranking “lower” than us in knowledge or education make other human beings – fellow image-bearers of God! – free fodder for our amusement?  If they write poorly, or don’t think clearly, or lack crucial information, does that mean it’s okay for us to scoff, guffaw, and walk away feeling like a superior human being?

Scripture has some pretty strong words about looking down on others…

“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? … If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” – James 2:1-5 & 8-10 (ESV)

Sending someone’s internet gaffe viral is really another way to gossip, even if their name is blacked out.  Unless they recognize their mistake and share your amusement, is that kind?

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers…” – Psalm 1:1

I left that list after a few hollow laughs, feeling depressed.  I wondered…do these people have anyone in their lives who would correct them gently, in love?  Is there anyone who would have the patience and take the time to educate them on their errors?  Or are all their “friends” taking screenshots of their mistakes and spreading them to the world for a good laugh?

Trolling people…har har har!!  *sigh*  I hope someone kind gave them actual correct information.

I’ve seen this kind of trolling happen in person.  Someone asked a question, and got a string of sarcastic misinformation instead of a straight answer.  A joke, sure, okay.  But then the sarcastic individual never bothered to step back and explain the truth…and neither did anyone else in the room, leaving the person who asked the question confused and in the dark.  Does doing this to people online make it any nicer?

Are we more prone to chortling with the bullies, or showing grace to the misinformed?

There but for the grace of God go I!

I’ve put my foot in my mouth before, made typos, and been totally clueless and ignorant at times.  There are many, many people smarter than me in the world, and the information I have filed away in my tiny mind is a drop in a bucket compared to some.  Would I appreciate their scorn?

When I show myself a fool, I know I’d want other people giving me the benefit of the doubt.  I know I’d want to be graciously educated or kindly tolerated, rather than mocked.  And I want to extend that compassionate ideal to others, even the “stupid” people on the internet.

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12

Yes, maybe sometimes I need to lighten up.  But I believe we should ask ourselves more often:

“Would Jesus LOL?”

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5 Comments

  1. The important thing is, when you write it, it’s there! And it doesn’t really go away on the Internet. So watch out! 🙂

    Reply
    • I’m perplexed by your comment. So your point is, mockery is justified because the important thing is to not be stupid in the first place? That’s sort of the OPPOSITE of the point I was making here. 😉

      People aren’t just ignorant or clueless online. It happens in real life too, and you can’t take that back either. “Love covers a multitude of sins…” I imagine love should cover stupidities and mistakes too.

      Reply
      • Sorry! I never got notified of this until just now!
        Oh no! I was saying that we shouldn’t mock either because we can’t take it back and it’s online forever. Sorry, total misread there. 🙂

        Reply
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