“For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine; and you say, `He has a demon.’ The Son of man has come eating and drinking; and you say, `Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”
Luke 7:33-35 (RSV)
There is a man I have become acquainted with over the Internet by the name of Steven B.
Steven is older and wiser than I, and I suspect has been walking with the Lord a lot longer than I have. He has studied Theology and Divinity at the Christian Leaders Institute, and has worked at the Cleveland Institute of Electronics and at the Medical University of South Carolina in the past. Steven currently lives in Jacksonville Beach, Florida and is battling cancer.
I say all this as a form of introduction to the man who wrote the following words of wisdom and love a few years back (the post is dated July 10, 2014.). The post regards a person who had taken offence at something Steven had communicated online.
It is sometimes difficult enough to discuss something with someone in person. That difficulty increases exponentially when you don’t know the person your are having a discussion with and you are limited to simply texting back and forth. It takes much love, patience, kindness, and compassion to engage in a meaningful discussion with someone who is angry with something you’ve stated via social media. I believe Steven did so quite masterfully, and I wanted to share it with you here.
Here’s another response to me on my Google account:
“I often read your posts. Some are very thought provoking but I also find some offensive. At times you seem to be very narrow minded and opinionated in your comments and answers to questions. I would suggest to you that you be a bit more sensitive to the issues others are facing.”
My Response: I cannot argue your point. It is often difficult, if not impossible, to know a person’s background based on the internet alone. One can know something about that person by their likes and posts but it is very limited. For instance; when I look at your posts and your profile I know how old you are – that you are a male – that your “likes” are the Bible and Harry Potter. That, in my mind, is a contradiction. If we knew one another on a personal basis then we both probably would have a much different and more accurate picture of just who we are. Then we would know better how to approach one another.
Some of my posts may hit home to you. Some may offend you. My intent is to offend no one. But that is bound to happen in this environment. Please accept my apology for any offense. It was not intended. I do not know the issues you are facing. Nor do you know mine. That is why this medium can be a very dangerous place to expect total understanding.
My greatest fear is that people will lose touch with one another on a personal basis and depend on the internet and social media for their major source of comfort and support. If that becomes the case (and it is for many), then we are in for a very rude awakening.
If I could change one thing in this world it would be to get rid of social media on the internet. There are some good points to it but it is rapidly replacing that one on one personal contact we all need and desire.
I couldn’t agree more. Several studies have shown that social media is having a detrimental effect upon society as a whole. I’ve noticed that, for some people, commenting on social media is a lot like driving in a car alone. Certain drivers do things – like pick their nose – they would never do in polite company. It isn’t that they don’t know their vehicle’s windows allow others to see inside as much as they can see outside. They simply feel protected and they haven’t given their actions a second thought.
The basic prerequisite of all true learning is an attitude of humility. If we have this, we can learn much from the persons and events of our daily living. Anyone who has nothing to learn from others will not be able to teach others in any helpful way.