Posts Tagged ‘grace’

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Funny Things on the Internet – Would Jesus LOL?

February 9, 2015

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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Put Down the Mask

July 31, 2014
One of my first Facebook profile pictures, before I decided it was okay to show my real face online.

One of my first Facebook profile pictures, before I decided I felt safe enough showing my real face online.

I had a conversation with a friend the other day about how everyone is insecure.  There are few exceptions.  Everyone puts up a front to hide the fact that they don’t like who they are, or what they’ve done, or the mess their lives are.  Either we hide our deepest flaws, or we glorify them and hold them up like proud signs.  “Hey, this is who I am.  Deal with it.”

For some of us the deception or pride runs so deep that even we are convinced of our own got-it-togetherness.  Then when our insufficiency or our hidden sin rears its ugly head, we panic. What? That’s not me! No, I’m not normally like that!

In this era of social media, it’s even more painfully obvious that everyone’s putting up a facade.  People are all in competition to put the best face forward, out-yell everyone else, wave their proud signs highest.  (This is where the Mommy Wars come from, too.)  If we’re all in chains, at least I’m shuffling around faster than the person next to me, right?  Like the Pharisee we all like to think in our hearts, “I might not be the best in the world…but at least I’m better than that guy!  That’s got to count for something.”

Except it really doesn’t.

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But God gives grace to the humble.  He covers those who weep that they can no longer hide their faces.  He lifts up those who are too weary to go on shuffling, and breaks their chains.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
– Matthew 5:3-6

In Christ we can stop striving!

[Following a list of sinners] – “And such were some of you.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:11

If we are cleansed in Him, we have no reason to hide ourselves any longer.  We are free to pull off our masks and soak in the sunlight on our bare faces, and put down those heavy signs and rest our tired arms.  We can rest.

We can open up our souls to others without shame, and show our faces without fear, because this isn’t a beauty pageant anymore.  We’re not in a race, and nobody’s going to knock us down the ladder.  We are safe, purified, and loved.

We no longer need to identify ourselves with our parenting methods, our handiwork, our bad history, our depravity, our perfectionism, or our desperate attempts at righteousness.  We are free to be our true selves!  No more putting down others to make sure we aren’t on the bottom of the heap.  No more competitions.  No more disguises.  There is no need for a disguise! – our souls are becoming beautiful from the inside out as we follow a beautiful Savior.  No more cumbersome props.  No more chains dragging behind us.

Weep for your sins…because He is not judging you.  Put them down…because you don’t need them to define you.  Hold out your empty hands…because He will fill them.

In Christ we can show our true souls because unlike our mortal body, they are not deteriorating and crumbling away.  We are becoming newer every day.  Like Moses’ face when he descended Mount Sinai, our faces shine ever brighter with the brilliant, reflected glory of God.  We are being made like Him.

What wondrous love is this, O my soul?

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. – 1 Corinthians 3:17-18

A recent Facebook profile picture - zits, baby weight, and all.  :)

For contrast – a recent Facebook profile picture.  Who cares about baby weight and acne when you have joy?  🙂

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