Stop Giving Anger a Megaphone

My heart hurts. The violence of the past few weeks in our country and in our world grieves my soul. Men, women and children are being massacred by madmen. People are angry and frightened. At the heart of much of the violence are the most polarizing issues in our society – race, religion and human sexuality.

Many African Americans distrust and are afraid of the police. Much of White America subconsciously fears and distrusts Black America. Religious fanatics consider themselves their deity’s instrument of vengeance on a corrupt and immoral world.

And fueling the fear, distrust and anger is social media.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Facebook is to blame for the recent massacres in Orlando, Dallas or Nice. Sin is to blame. Man’s pride, anger and selfishness are to blame.

Violence and hatred are nothing new. As wise, old King Solomon used to say, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Hatred and violence have existed since Cain and Abel. Wars have raged throughout history. Across the centuries, religious zealots have persecuted and killed those with whom they disagree.

The difference today is that anger has been given a megaphone. Technology not only allows us immediate access to breaking news around the world. It now also gives us a platform to comment publicly on those events.

Social media is so new, however, that most of us haven’t taken the time to evaluate how we use it. Each of us has suddenly been given a megaphone to tell the world what we think and feel. Today you can post something on social media which potentially could reach hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. But as Uncle Ben once told young Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

It’s time to step back and objectively evaluate how we use social media. Why are we posting what we post? How is it being perceived? How does our use of social media affect us and others?

Posting your personal thoughts and opinions feels good, especially as the number of likes increases. It makes us feel better about ourselves and justified in our opinions. The question each of us needs to ask is: Am I sharing on social media to encourage and enlighten others or simply to fill a personal need for acceptance or approval?

But even if our motives are pure, will what we post really encourage or enlighten others? Here is a truth few seem to accept:

Posts, threads and discussions on social media rarely change anyone’s opinion.

Those who agree with you will like and share. Those who disagree will ignore or argue.

Those who fill their Facebook feeds with “Black Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter”, with Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, with rants for or against the LGBT agenda, rarely add anything to the discussion or change anyone’s mind. They just polarize people more. They muddy the waters with propaganda and misinformation.

Arguing and debating politics, religion or morality on a Facebook thread is usually not productive or effective communication. It simply tends to polarize us and fuel the fury of unstable people.

You may feel if you don’t speak up, nobody will. I understand that. God wants us to stand up for the truth, but he also wants us to do so clearly and in love. Social media doesn’t usually lend itself to that. Certain issues are better discussed privately or in person.

So instead of engaging in a public debate which devolves quickly into sarcasm and name calling, send the person a private message. Engage in real communication with the people God has placed around you. Take a step back. Consider carefully what you share and post on social media.

Stop fueling the fury. Stop giving anger a megaphone.

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  8 comments for “Stop Giving Anger a Megaphone

  1. July 18, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Yesterday as I arrived in the church parking lot, my friend was getting out of her car. She said she just experienced ‘road rage’, being honked at for not pulling away from a light quickly enough and had the driver pull around her and then back in abruptly. She wanted to know why someone would be so angry and upset on a Sunday morning before 9 am, why he had to be like that. I told her it was impersonal, being in a car and not face to face allows him/them to behave badly and get away with it. The same is true for social media—we are mostly anonymous, hiding behind our monitors or screens, and feeling powerful. We can be joyful drivers, polite and law abiding, or we can absolute terrors on the road or Internet…Choose wisely!

    • schroera
      July 18, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Wonderful analogy, Kim.

  2. Kenneth
    July 18, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Very Well Written Words, Brother In Christ.

    • schroera
      July 18, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Thank you, Kenneth!!!

  3. July 18, 2016 at 8:44 am

    This needs to hit the megaphone of social media. You’ve said a lot in love and humility that has the ability to lead and correct. I’m broadcasting this as best as I can, thanks for these words!

    • schroera
      July 18, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Thank you, Gene.

  4. July 18, 2016 at 11:20 am

    There is so much hurt and pain in the world do we really need more people adding to that on Facebook? Would it be a much better use of our time and energy to use our tongues and our keyboards to offer words of encouragement, to be salt and light in a world overloaded with pain and darkness? Imagine the impact you could have with your social footprint if everyday people who follow you get pointed back the Jesus. What a blessing the tongue and Facebook could be.

  5. Jacob Beilke
    July 19, 2016 at 9:26 am

    This is such a GREAT reminder! Thanks for sharing!

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