I like to review what’s trending in the social media world. Typically what’s trending on social media is a good indicator of what’s going on in the world. In the last few years it appears that there is always a wildfire burning out of control, a sink hole swallowing homes, a storm brewing in the seas and polar caps melting at record speed. As if that’s not bad enough, people everywhere are fighting over issues around race, gender, sex, religion, what’s being taught to whom by whoever and so on and so forth. It’s overwhelming. How do we keep living life without feeling we’re ignoring all the needs?
With all that is going on around us it is almost impossible to keep up with it all. As I watch story after story unfold I am left wondering, when will it end? I keep waiting for it all to calm down but instead the unease continues to grow. I find myself flipping between news stations and turning to periscope and social media to fit all the pieces together. At one point I began writing down the reported statistics I was hearing in order to research for myself if they were true. What I found was mostly half-truths presented in favor of which ever argument is being presented at the time. It is incredibly discouraging to see the truth so misrepresented. It is more disappointing to see the level of anger and violence that is occurring in response to it all.
Watching it all reminded me of those verses in 2 Timothy 3 – 5; “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.” That pretty much sums up our existence, wouldn’t you agree?
In all fairness, I don’t believe this is reserved to the last few years. This has been the path of our society for sometime now. As we continue to blast into the future our lives seem to spin faster and faster. I’ve said it before, I think the lack of social connection has caused people to forget we’re all people. There’s a pack mentality that says attack whomever disagrees. (Or whomever offends you in some way, even if it is irrational.) I joined an online writers group recently and was shocked to see how a group that was supposed to be supporting and encouraging one another was angry and down right mean. And can you believe most of it was incited by incorrect grammar? I quickly dropped that group recognizing no good would come from participating. The thing is, the shock of the cruelty hasn’t been forgotten. I do recognize though, that not all writers groups are like that. I have joined other groups and have not experienced that level of discontent. It would be naïve to make the association that all writers groups are like that one group or that all writers are like those few that I encountered. Yet we make those same assumptions everyday.
Why? Because like 2 Timothy: 3 -5 says, people have become proud, they love themselves and money, they are unloving, unforgiving, lack self-control, cruel, reckless, and all too ready to slander others. When I watch the news and look at social media it seems the only thing really trending is tragedy.
So what can you do about it? The quick answer is, nothing. You can’t stop natural disasters and the behaviors of politicians beyond your influence. You can’t change anything but yourself. I personally am of the belief that most people are good. So at first appearance there isn’t much to do. But what is good? Are we good if we don’t break laws, we work, we pay our bills, we raise our kids to be kind-hearted people and we try to be considerate of others? If we’re not racists, or bullies and we pay our taxes are we good? Most of us don’t like what we see going on in the world so because we don’t participate in those things are we good? Maybe, BUT. And this is a big but (no pun intended), are you doing anything to contribute positively to your community?
We all say we’re not those 2 Timothy: 3-5 people, who are obviously terrible humans. However, are you too busy to volunteer? Too busy to find the time to do something during your week that doesn’t benefit you or your family? Are you too busy to do something that doesn’t result in income in your pocket? And that last one includes those things you do that may not directly grow your business but ultimately you know deep down will benefit your pocket. Is your time too precious that you can’t spend some of it doing something positive for society? If you answered yes, than the reality is you are loving yourself and money over others. You can check that box. How about self-control with over indulgence in drinking or food? Yep check that box. You may not be intentionally slandering others but do you gossip? Check. You don’t think you’re proud? Are you easily offended? Being offended often and easily usually stems from being proud. Check that box too. Reckless? Of course you’re not, risky behavior is not your thing. But, are there bills you can’t pay while you shop for more things you don’t really need? Check. Okay, okay, maybe some of these things don’t apply like, you’re definitely not cruel or unloving. Are you sure? Do you hate liberals, or republicans? Are you enraged by some belief that isn’t in alignment with yours? I’m not saying you have to agree or give value to those beliefs or arguments. I’m just saying you probably don’t feel lovingly toward them, so you can check that box too. How about un-forgiveness? Cruelty can be the same as holding a grudge for something and using it as power over the person who committed the indiscretion. It’s in the Bible people. I’m not making it up. All in all, how did you do?
If you’re anything like me, you’re realizing what a crappy human being you’ve been and how oblivious you’ve been to being crappy. You can change you. You can change how you spend your time, you can learn to forgive, you can practice self-control which can help you not to gossip, act reckless, or be prideful. In other words you don’t have to try not to be all those things that 2 Timothy: 3 – 5 describes. I’m pointing out that most people don’t realize they aren’t being a good person. I have faith that once they recognize they are being those things will want to change their behavior. Ultimately, being open to the idea that maybe you aren’t so “good” after all usually leads to a willingness to change which leads to a more fulfilling and peaceful life. I guess you can change the world after all. Your world.