As the days pass and social media continues to occupy even greater percentages of people’s life spans, I am drawn to an awareness of the deliberately tensioning presence of that famous elephant in many of these (virtual) rooms. Take for instance, a regular Whatsapp group. A group maybe created by or/and for persons who could be strangers, colleagues or just humans that come in contact one way or another through the great vine that is social networking. Whatever the case, these groups usually prompt the converging of diverse cultures, faiths, experiences and minds, and it is common knowledge that conflict and clash of opinion/will is one notable offspring of diversity.
Although that introduction has already triggered the memory of several tales under various themes that I could regale you with, this post is actually about a certain discussion that arose on one of the groups I am part of. The participants on the forum happen to be professing believers (in Jesus, for the avoidance of doubt) and most of us tend to come in contact with each other on a regular basis. Someone raised a note of dissatisfaction with what he perceived to be a flaw in attitude that had begun to heavily permeate all the members of the group and everyone was encouraged to join in the conversation and share their thoughts on it. The core issue – in summary and paraphrase – was that we had become less caring, sensitive, considerate and loving towards one another. In any other setting with totally different objectives, such a complaint might have prompted scoffs and eye-rolls but since we are indeed those who claim to live favorably disposed to aligning to the word and will of God almighty– including the ‘golden rule’ -, the issue raised was rightly viewed as a big deal.
Personally, I consider opening up and being sincere about hurts or displeasures to be a rather edifying and even therapeutic exercise (depending on how it is handled of course). Generally though, keeping bile in check by expressing and trying to better understand the perspectives and motives of others is hardly a bad idea.
From all indications, offence had been taken by several, but one thing that stayed in my mind as I read through, is that:
We. Are. Responsible. For. The. Outcome. Of. Our. Lives.
Because. We. Are. Responsible. For. Our. Choices.
There are many times we hurt, are worn, start to feel discouraged and the like. One of the most resonating truths I’ve received of God’s word is that feelings are not my GPS. Sure they are super powerful, but I refuse to let them play the dictator on my thoughts, my words or my actions. Will they try to force their way out sometimes? Undoubtedly. But because I’m conscious of how fond they are of “notice me”, I’m hitting up truth and forcing them back into being subject to the authority of my Spirit man – the real man.
Many people tend to fall into the temptation to accuse and jump to conclusions when they feel upset or make assumptions based on their interpretation of certain actions/inactions. It’s easy to sit somewhere and decide that everyone is doing a poor job of loving you and caring about you based on your preconceived notions of what ‘caring’ and ‘loving’ should entail. But how many times do we pause to ponder if our idea of a concept is the most accurate one?
I’ve had several intensely hurtful experiences where people make assumptions (often wrong) about something, and instead of trying to verify they just run with the thoughts pumped into their minds and act based on how they feel. Those experiences can be cutting not merely because you realize how poorly you’re thought of (else you’d be given the benefit of doubt, no?), but also because while human A was dealing with their personal pains and accusing human B of being insensitive and callous, human B might have been having issues as well and was equally hoping for the former’s assistance! Have we forgotten that we do not know/see everything? One of my earliest posts on this blog was about flaws in modes of acquiring knowledge ( http://kwiksie.com/2017/03/02/what-are-you-so-sure-about-2/ ). How do I know what I have chosen to believe of this person/action/situation is totally correct? Is there a possibility my deductions have been tainted by other things? In human interaction and learning, it’s normal to attempt to draw conclusions based on evidences presented to us but as humans who are believers, we must also counter check and try to balance things to be certain – and when we aren’t even certain, 1 Corinthians 13 should come in. My intention wasn’t to cloak the flaws in behavior and attitudes that were admittedly becoming prevalent amongst some of us in the group, nor was I attempting to ‘excuse away’ brotherly inattentiveness. But yet there is more to life than what folks do or don’t do…for you and I.
Like many already know, we don’t always smile because we want to. Sometimes when I’ve let a situation or feeling keep me so down that up to three persons ask what the matter is, and I neither share nor brighten up, I end up repenting of my actions when what I’ve done occurs to me. Not because it’s sin to feel worn out or concerned about issues, but because if instead of seeking assistance I’m letting it strip me of an attitude of thanksgiving or steal my joy, I’m in the wrong!
It’s either I go to the doctors and let God use medication and skills of practitioners to bring me relief, or I stand on his promises and speak the potent and powerful word of God already spoken over me, to bring those promises into materialization in physical reality. BUT DOING NEITHER AND DYING IS OF NO BENEFIT. Also, I am conscious of the fact that my cheer and sometimes-excessive happy energy can be a boost to someone. To most it might be a nuisance but if it lights up even one formerly gloomy face then mission accomplished.
The mind is too powerful.
Sometimes the weight on our physical bodies is heavier because the mind has been overfed negativity. If you have an issue you think someone can help with then just ask. Let them turn you down, it’s better than assuming you’re entitled to the complete attention and concern of the whole universe – forgetting other humans have concerns and issues demanding attention as well.
Would it be beautiful to always be able to bank on people? Yes. Is that what the bible instructs us to do? No.
We’re told that those who put their trust in the arm of flesh are cursed (Jeremiah 17:5). Because the arm of flesh will fail us. Not might..WILL. I can be trusting but must not put my trust IN the arm of flesh. So I will value and cherish human interaction that brings gladness and encouragement – but I will keep my trust in the Lord. I will rely on His joy for my strength, I will speak to my soul and command it to be lifted up within me (Psalms 42:5). I will call forth the gladness that tries to desert me and the support I’m seeking. It might seem like a joke to some but… if you know, you know. The fewer the weighty expectations one places on others, the less the disappointment. Let us expect the best of people in the hope and faith way- that they will keep pressing on towards perfection-, but do not expect kindnesses to be reciprocated or concern or what not; not because they shouldn’t be but so if they aren’t we do not take offence (Matthew 26:33/ Luke 7:23). This will help put us in a frame to always be ready to give and quicker to forgive perceived wrongs. We are all works in progress and striving towards perfection daily. When more start consciously practicalising their love walk, I will rejoice that “the expectation of the righteous” was not cut short. When we invest time hoping, correcting, rebuking and sharing areas for improvement that are sensed, it should be more for all to experience the beauty in giving unrestrainedly than merely to enjoy from it individually. If someone never did a kind thing for me and yet I unrelentingly sought God to reveal to him/her the treasures in being a blessing to others, I will still be encouraged to hear of testimonies of his/her change – whether I directly enjoy them or not!
Let’s be more yielded to the Holy Spirit and let us trust the Holy Spirit. He may stir in someone the urge to intercede for you regarding your specific need or situation. The person might be doing vigils for you and you’re clueless. If they aren’t led to share the fact that you’re currently their prayer project, you might never know. But trusting that our God sees and knows all and has faithfuls that are sensitive to His leading encourages one.
Yes, we must show love.
Yes, we should demonstrate our concern or affection.
But I’m a bit tired of technology because many of us believe social media activity to be a better representation of care than anything else. The person who smiled and hugged you when she was dealing with stuff – that may be her sacrifice of love. The neighbour who watched your children while you figured out what was wrong with your car – despite her being bone weary-, that could be a sacrifice of love! As we anticipate and look out for improvements in others, let us still remember that we have thus far been shown a great many kindnesses. It may not be in the ways we expect (or even from those we expect) but let that not reduce our level of thankfulness.
As the Holy Spirit leads and teaches us, may these things become clearer to us.