• Gathered Under Grace

Our Thumbs

We all remember the days that we were concerned with email and text message etiquette, and now, suddenly, some of us (me!) are struggling with our rushed reactions to social media posts. ‘To post or not to post’ has become a regular mantra. My own experience yesterday had me quickly typing an angry retort to only delete my post within a half an hour. Our thumbs up versus our thumbs down on the keyboard can provoke our angry face emojis into a real workout. It’s easy to get fired up by words or pictures that are taken out of context. Add a dose of what can appear to be manipulation, inaccurate information, or just plain misinformation and we can let our typing fingers loose with a vengeance. Our kindness quotient is sitting on a very fine line, and that line is smack dab under our typing fingers. Hurt feelings and anxiety are amplified by the way we respond to one another, and when a lack of self censoring does occur, we all end up losing.

Luke‬ ‭10:37‬ ‭TPT‬‬

“The religious scholar responded, “The one who demonstrated kindness and mercy.” Jesus said, “You must go and do the same as he.”

Who’d of thunk it? The Good Samaritan as an example for social media etiquette, and yet here it is. The first guy, the watcher, wouldn’t so much as stop and then he actually crossed the road to keep his distance completely separate from the other side. The watcher, now he looks, but he doesn’t touch any topic, any topic at all, even with a ten foot pole. In the end, the watcher crosses the uncomfortable topics off of his list of ‘friends’. The second guy, the stooper, looks but doesn’t touch. He confines himself to the easy and ‘nothing too difficult to discuss’ list. He is genuinely interested, he probes at the problems, ponders at a resolution, but ultimately he chooses to walk around the problem instead of facing it head on. The Good Samaritan is the only one who does something; something noble. We have to take a closer look to see the true difference between the Samaritan and our own rushed responses. This guy sees the problem and responds just like we do, yet instead of how we respond with our rush to get in there and make our point, he responds with kindness. Ouch! He is gentle, he is gracious and he has a satchel full of mercy. Ouch again! He’s the real deal. No condemnation, no rude words, only actions that speak so much louder than mere words ever could. Jesus’ advice to us is simple. We must train ourselves (and our thumbs) to be the one who demonstrates kindness and mercy in all of our interactions; including the way our thumbs act on social media.

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