Trolls are on the prowl. Anarchists are scheming. And meanness has taken over.
We are living existential lives without ballast and without anchors. It is a liquid and languid life. Our world is dripping in mean-spirited and destructive venom. It’s sad. It’s scary. And it’s serious.
Of course hate has been with us since the beginning of time, but it is different today. That difference is the venom’s manifest destiny to mow down anything in its way and then ENDURE into the future. Indeed, today’s venom is sturdy and durable.
The Internet has made it so much EASIER—and faster—to be mean if you choose to be mean. And because the net is ubiquitous in our lives, it is EASIER for all of us to be dragged down by the negative venom. But even though this meanness menace may be driven by and showcased on the internet, there is evidence of it everywhere in our lives and relationships—every day, and everywhere.
Yes, it is easy to blame today’s wave of meanness on the internet and our complicated life circumstances, but they are NOT the primary culprits. The internet may propel the venom and pummel the recipient, but the root problem is in our HEARTS. This is a universal and timeless heart/sin problem.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
So what should Christians do in the face of this fearsome force? Consider starting with these two things:
- Release From The Negativity
- Change The Negativity
RELEASE FROM THE NEGATIVITY
As Christians, we have a responsibility to release from the negativity. Think of it like a fleck of ice that attaches to our eye. The initial impact is inconsequential. As are the second and third. But over time the flecks begin to bind. Ultimately, the eye will freeze and then die.
That’s why we need to disconnect from the meanness and connect with God. Living without being tethered to God’s Word means one “small thing” can join others to create problems and temptations…even death.
“Whoever strays from the path of prudence comes to rest in the company of the dead.” Proverbs 21:16
DO OUR PART TO CHANGE THE NEGATIVITY
I can’t imagine how non-believers view the way some Christians treat people–including other Christians–which no doubt prompts the target of their wrath to think: “That is how to live like Christ?”
It’s wrong! And it flies in the face of what we are taught in God’s Word—the kindness of Jesus that leads to repentance. After all, have you heard of anyone accepting Christ through meanness?
We are to be more and more like him and set a Godly example by being gentle. When we disagree with others, it must be with the truth and grace of Jesus.
If non-believers cannot find kindness, forgiveness, and love in us—where will they find it?
“A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings disaster on himself.” Proverbs 11:17
As Christians we have a responsibility to stand up and confront rudeness and abuse. But we also need to lead the way in retrieving some of our basic kindness with a counter-attack that responds to meanness with God’s love. The kind of response Jesus gave his murderers. Not acquiescence, or passive acceptance, but active, engaged, zealous love.