Sharing – we all know what it means – giving a bit of what we have to others so that we all have the same thing in common. I think most of us would agree that sharing, for the most part, is a good thing.
Well, it is a good thing when what we are sharing is stuff – you know, cookies, toys, food, clothes, maybe homes, and cars. But what about sharing ideas or opinions. Sometimes that can be hard to do, especially in the climate we are currently living in.
So often we belabor the questions: Do we share or not? If we do, how much? If we don’t, why not? How will it be received? Who will see it? Who won’t see it? Who cares? Who doesn’t care? What will the reaction be? Will there be a reaction?
We all know the drill – there are thoughts on the tips of our tongues (or our fingertips as the case may be) and we type, delete, type, delete, type and delete. Or occasionally type, send, and regret. Here are some of my cookies, would you like one? They are quite tasty.
Unfortunately, it seems that no one wants to give a different cookie a taste. It is as if everyone is shouting, “My cookies are the only cookies worth eating, so not only am I giving you some of my cookies, I insist that you eat them!”
This polarization is in every realm. Religion: If you don’t preach what I believe, you are a heretic! Politics: If you don’t follow the same party I do, you are destroying the country! Education: If you don’t listen to what my scientists have to say you are ignorant! And that’s just the start.
It’s like we’ve lost some sort of filter of compassion, or ability to listen, or even the idea of sharing ideas – giving a bit of what we have to others so that we all have the same thing in common. Is it possible to have an honest exchange of ideas, of stretching our understanding, of expanding our thoughts and perspectives?
We seem to only see through one lens and we filter out anything and everything that doesn’t agree with us. Not only do we filter it, we declare it bad, wrong, idiotic, or whatever other demeaning adjective we can think of.
Heaven forbid someone actually be able to share an idea with us that is different than ours, that we might think on, research, and perhaps even – hold on, there is something radical ahead – come to a place where we change our mind! GASP!
Oh no! If we allow something or someone to change our mind, what does that mean? Does that mean we’ve totally sold out to the other side? Does that mean we were wrong? Does that mean we … oh no, this could get really bad… does that mean we (deep breath) does that mean we (better sit down now) does that mean we… LOST?
Has everything come down to winning or losing? It appears so, and none of us wants to lose. We will fight to the death rather than lose politically, socially, educationally, or spiritually. Wow.
Has our right to be right become our God? What will we sacrifice on its altar? Family? Friends? Respect? Love? Joy? Peace? Forbearance? Kindness? Goodness? Faithfulness? Gentleness? Self-control?
And what is the fruit of worshiping this god? Hatred. Discord. Jealousy. Fits of rage. Selfish ambition. Dissension. Factions. Envy. Are we seeing that basket of fruit overflowing?
God calls believers to a higher standard than the world. Every time we post on social media, on any topic, we must remember that we are representing the God of the universe – the Creator and Sustainer of all things, the God who has a plan and is about the business of bringing that plan to fruition. Every word we write either points people to him, or away from him.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh, rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out, or you will be destroyed by each other. – Galatians 5:13-14 NIV
I need to heed these words. I also wonder how all of our comments might differ if we practice loving and treating the ones with whom we disagree with the same love and respect which we want and expect.
If we took a moment to think about their perspective and their heart instead of immediately assuming there is a battle to engage, would things look and sound different? Would we be open to sharing more ideas or less? Would there be a greater chance of finding unity?
I wonder what would happen if we took the time to thank them for their cookie before we offered ours. We might also discover that we don’t know everything. We might discover commonality. We might unite to overcome the very things we are fighting against. Imagine if a chocolate chip cookie merged with a peanut butter! Eureka!
for information on Marcia’s devotional, “365 Days of Grace” Click here