by Shelby Barker
Alright, this 16 year-long experiment of social media has sucked. It hasn't united us it's just created a cesspool of hate. No one has ever been convinced that they are wrong....just a bunch of people digging deeper trenches and throwing more crap at each other. Sure, I get to see my family in other states post pictures, but at what cost?
It's not supposed to be this way. But... man it's so tempting to let that one person know how wrong they are.
Here's the good news, conflict isn't new. Well, maybe that's not good news. Let me try that again. Here's the good news, since conflict isn't new Jesus has some really good guidance on how we should deal with it.
1. The first step is we have to take ownership
We play a role in this. I mean think about it, I bet in every conflict you've ever been a part of you were the hero weren't you? You were the one that was right and they were wrong. What if there was really more to the story? The first step for a Jesus follower to navigate social media is we have to take ownership of our past mistakes and our future actions. I've got some difficult news. You are not always right and you are not always the hero.
2. Fill the gap with love.
Conflict is simply the tension between expectations and reality. You expected that person to behave or say a certain thing but the reality is they didn't. Listen, there is always going to be a gap between our expectations and reality. Jesus calls on us to fill that gap with love. In other words, assume the best about the person. In the social media world it can be summarized like this: assume the best and just keep scrolling.
3. Resolve the conflict
Spend enough time on social media and eventually, we might get to a person or a comment that we just can't scroll by. The gap is too big to fill with love. What do we do? Jesus gives us some important guidance.
He essentially says, when someone wrongs you go to that person one-on-one. Don't broadcast your grievance in front of everyone. Talk to the person offline. Try to find out the truth. So some investigating. Message them privately about it. Try to understand first before you try and persuade.
So then, if we use this formula when we are scrolling and scrolling, and scrolling and then all of a sudden we see a post we disagree with...A post that is living in that gap between our expectations and reality. Jesus followers have two responses.
Fill that gap with love. Assume the best and just keep scrolling
If you just can't do that. The offense is too big. Talk to the person offline. Message them privately about it. Try to understand first before you try and persuade.