Courage and respect

A research undertaken in the United States indicates that Facebook makes us “fatter, poorer and meaner”. According to the text, this would be connected to the fact that we like to feel good about ourselves and, therefore, we think we have the right to react strongly against anything in our way.

We cannot know for sure if the first two, fatter and poorer, are right. But it seems there is a lot of evidence regarding the third one.

Browse, for instance, through websites and social networks, looking for words like “scandal” or “crime investigation”. Try to discover how many who comment with aggressive and hateful words have actually read the full article or have all the information.  Is it really possible to interpret, ponder and offer a sound opinion without the entire story? To truly understand the context, understand what is being said about the individual(s) in the story, then respect would be given toward the people involved whether or not they are a victim. Most often instead the main concern is with their own opinion, own worldview, own judgment. Their keyboard is their tribunal. There’s little to no thought of the implications of their words.

This makes us believe that the third option might be right. In some contexts, people react to aggression and intolerance only with more aggression and intolerance.

To what concerns Christianity, this research would not even be necessary. It already knows human beings are mean, by nature. It is not in the DNA, for God has created us perfect, but since humans departed from their Creator’s purpose, they have become a deep well of meanness. Facebook only draws a few buckets from it. The image we have of ourselves does not always correspond to what we really are.

That is why the Sacred book of Christians brings the news that this human being – you, me, every one – needs. That this meanness is forgiven and our innate tendency towards it is controlled by His love. This Love book teaches us that Jesus Christ – who, had they had Facebook then, would receive dozens of angry, hasty and judgmental comments concerning his trial as a criminal – took everything on his shoulders so that, besides having our hearts clean, our fingers could receive good command. With that we may type more responsibly and consistently. Prudently mindful that the error, if proved, should be courageously denounced and the person who erred should be respected and allowed a second chance to do things right.

Being face to face with this reality does not make anyone poorer or fatter. And, in fact, it turns meanness into courage and respect.

And love.

Rev. Paulo S. Albrecht
Brasilia, Brasil

Text  revision
Ms. Kim Starr
MA Practical Theology & Deaconess Certified

Wisconsin, US
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