This week, I read a story on Facebook that threw red flags for me. I did a little research myself. After I did, I was disappointed in the post and even a little bit in a few of my “friends.”
You see it pitted us against each other by distorting the facts, producing fear, tapping into righteous indignation, and making us think the “other” side is hideous and immoral.
As I thought about it, I thought that before I respond to such things I really need to temper my response by gathering the facts, mulling over the broad generalizations, revolving the message in my mind.
That’s the first definition of the word revolve: to turn over at length in the mind, ponder.
I was reminded of this quote by C.S. Lewis:
“Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, `Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything – God and our friends and ourselves included – as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.”C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
What’s our purpose and what’s our intent when we share such things? Is it to make our enemies as bad as possible? As Christians, the Word says love your enemies. Easy to say, hard to do.
It’s easier to throw stones and spread fear, then it is to listen to understand and spread love. It’s easy to get in a snit. Harder to determine what’s truth.
I’m troubled when I want to paint others in broad, bad strokes. Generalizations are hurtful and damaging. And, I truly fear more for what I may be doing in my own heart when I overreact or respond out of fear.
To find, each other so awful that we constantly look for dark hearts, and paint every viewpoint that differs with our’s eviler still is a slippery slope, indeed.
We’re reminded, “Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong. Everything you do should be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, emphasis mine)
There’s always more to the story. Look for it. ❤