It’s been troubling me a lot this past week thinking about what I would write about. Especially because I missed last week’s post. I debated talking about my anxiety disorder, or my career, or something I had touched on in past posts. I even started writing rough drafts of other ideas. I wasn’t satisfied with them though. Then on the way to dinner God placed something on my heart.
Kindness and respect for others.
As I look back at the past two weeks they were filled with random moments of kindness and respect, as well as moments that were quite the opposite. When people, and especially Christians talk about kindness, they tend to talk about random acts of kindness or huge miracles. We tend to forget the acts of kindness and respect in our everyday lives.
Day after day our social media is bombarded by political and opinionated posts. We tend to speak and react without thinking about our words, or the effect it could have on another person. We have friends and family members who turn against each other over simple opinions. We cloud other people’s brains with negative thoughts and ideas that they can’t be more than ordinary. We yell and scream when someone has a different opinion than our own. We belittle the people we hold close. We feel empowered behind a keyboard to let our frustrations out on other people.
We act as if someone else’s ideas belittle our own. We feel the need to defend ourselves to every comment made. We also feel the need to tell other people (even when they are not directing something at as) that they are in the wrong.
The thing is, none of us are designed to hate. You may disagree with that statement, but let me tell you why I believe this to be true. When in times of crisis we are normally blind to anything but compassion. If driving down a flooded road and you witnessed someone stuck in the rising waters, no matter what you feel a longing to help that person. Even if they are a stranger. We witness it in very young children every day. Hate is also related to love. We also talk about how there isn’t a clear line between love and hate, but no one acknowledges why that is. Hate only stems from really three other emotions (maybe four if you want to stretch the concept). One: You see a trait you hate about yourself in another person which causes you to react negatively to that person. Two: Someone you love and or care about and or want to love and care about has hurt you in some fashion. Three: Fear. And Four: Jealousy of something someone else has that you want. The said thing is the majority of those have nothing to do with the other person. And even in the case where the other person directly caused those feelings, you hate them because you still deeply care about them.
Now with that knowledge, (as well as the knowledge given to my fellow Christians about loving everyone.), do we choose to ignore our natural tendencies? Social media, texting, and other forms of communication have made it easier to feel disconnected to the people we are having a conversation with. It makes the other person not real, or into a person they are not. We also have been fed this idea of “free speech” that many people abuse the privilege of. We forget the preschool lessons of “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” And instead have gained this all powerful, yet completely shallow air about ourselves. Because we lack the intimacy of normal conversation and relationships now, we fill the void in a conquest for power. We aren’t happy with one person complimenting us in person, we need five hundred likes on an Instagram post to feel satisfied. Instead of calmly talking to someone about an issue, religion, politics, their life; we use little emojis to convey “Love” or “dislike”. It’s like those old southern ladies at the hairdresser gossiping and blessing people’s hearts.
The thing that makes this even worse is the fact that we don’t see the lack of love in our actions anymore. We don’t cherish being respectful to others. We don’t see our harsh words on Facebook as disrespectful. (Don’t worry I’m guilty of it too.) When many people I know wouldn’t express themselves the same way in person.
We also put value in a like on a photo or post over an actual compliment. When was the last time many of us called a family member or a friend and talked to them for hours on the phone? When was the last time you didn’t make dinner plans over text? When was the last time you asked a girl/guy out without using Tinder?
With the lack of real communication, we also start to lose respect for a real human being. We forget to love them, on days other than when Facebook tells us it’s their birthday. And we forget to talk to, respect, and love the people we can’t impress on the opposite side of a computer screen.
Song of the week: A song that helped me except myself and in turn others