We live in very delicate times.
Daily, our minds are bombarded with one incident after the other.
The things we read of now were probably happening in the past decades but social media now brings the news to our doorsteps. Most times uninvited. Our newsfeed, our timelines get flooded with titbits of information that we are better off without.
Domestic violence, spouses committing heinous crimes against each other, injustices by governments, suicides, depression, paedophilia, school shootings, kidnappings….. All sorts!
When these things happen, sometimes people are susceptible to ask, who or what next?
Silently, and perhaps fearfully, sometimes people wonder if they are truly free from the onslaught of evil going on in the world. It seems like a cliché, but in reality most people you meet are fighting private battles; children needing affirmation, colleagues tired of the struggle, wondering when things will ever actually make sense to them, friends who need desperately to share issues with someone but not sure who to trust…
Before, people kept it private. But now some openly announce on social media that they are suicidal and are about to end it all. They make these announcements not for self-pity, but because they are among the privileged few lucky enough to try to claw at the last straw, hoping that someone, anyone somewhere would come to their rescue. Other not-so-lucky ones just end it, without notice. A friend shared the other day how a teen in her son’s school ended his life, unannounced. Just yesterday I saw a headline; a cardiologist, a rare gift to this world, ended his life after battling depression.
We live in very delicate times.
The times we are in call for deliberate lifestyles on our parts. Very deliberate.
Sometimes, I read posts on social media and I am saddened, saddened by how harsh we are to each other. People hide behind the screens and ruthlessly insult others. Old insult young, young insult old. No holds barred. No inhibitions. After all, on social media the 92 year old tech savvy grandma is the same age as the 16 year old who got a smart phone for her coming of age gift.
So, brazenly, anyone can say anything to anyone. Without caring about the effect.
Hmm, I have seen insults on social media. I have cringed and wondered at the people writing these things. Sometimes, I have gone on their profiles, hoping they were gang members who just came online to spew hate speech. I have been shocked to see display pictures of very normal looking people – men who have family pictures as their DPs, women with pictures of the most adorable babies, young boys and girls whose main care in the world should be passing the SAT or WAEC tests. In shock I have wondered what sort of role models these people are to their progeny on one hand, and what sort of young people we are raising, children who fearlessly cross out the demarcation between youth and the elderly and insult all they come across whose views differ from theirs. After all, it is a free world and we are equally free to air our views.
I said it before, and I say it again, behind the facades of social media images, behind the glam of vacation pictures many people are fighting real battles. And in this dog-eat-dog world we live in, can I ask you, you reading this today, to determine in your heart to be different?
In these sensitive times, people scarred by their past experiences and their perceived and/or actual hurts are skeptical, bitter, and hateful. Most have built walls around themselves.
Some spew hate against all of the male genre; and it’s easy to judge them till you hear what a man did to them, how they were cheated or abused in a relationship.
I am not deluded, and I acknowledge that so much is going on.
People need answers. Real, life changing answers, not a reminder of the myriads of problems and issues surrounding them, not a reminder of the things that have gone wrong with the systems they trust. I am sure the cardiologist who killed himself had his opinions of how horrible a place the world was. He knew. What he probably didn’t know was that he didn’t have to end it that way, what he probably needed was someone to help him and guide him through the maze. Not someone else to remind him of the good old days, or someone to remind him of the rot in the system, or someone to tell him ‘’preachers are counterfeit, don’t go to them’’. Maybe if someone, anyone had pointed him to the one real Person who could help him, he would still be alive today.
Someone I know, on a Saturday night posted how she was lonely, going through so much and was about to kill herself. Another person I know, went to her aid. This other lady loved her back to loving life. I bet she didn’t love her back by telling her, ‘’you are so right, the world is crazy, ain’t nothing worth living for’’ rather she showed her the ray of light at the end of the tunnel, made her hopeful about life.
So, I implore you. You reading this, can you be deliberate about shining the light in your own corner.
I remember as a child watching my dad and mum attend Rotary and Inner wheel meetings.
Reading through their brochures, as I did to the multiplications table, I committed the four way test to my memory:
Think about all the things you share on your statuses, your broadcast messages, on your timelines and everywhere. Before you share them, ask yourself:
And if I may I add, will it instill hope, courage and confidence to the person reading it?
Most everywhere these days, you read people say, ‘people need to hear the truth.’
Truth is a relative term, but again even if what you share is perceived as truth by you, ask yourself, ‘What will it foster in the heart of the readers? Will it further enhance their pain, confusion, bitterness and anger towards a thing or a system or will it give them hope?’
Can I ask you to be kind on purpose, to share hope, light, peace, comfort on purpose?
Determine to share life only, determine to disseminate good news only. We have an ample number of people sharing their opinions, beliefs, views and mindsets. Don’t be the one going to tell David that Saul is dead. He already knew.
”Shine the light, the darkness will go. Don’t come in wondering how dark the room is, just flip the switch on. Flip it on.”
It is so easy to hit the forward button and say people need to know what’s going on.
Do they really? Even if they do, does it have to be you, do you have to be the harbinger of all the wrong types of information?
What does that awareness build in their hearts?
What does it build in your heart? Does it make you feel good? Does it help you? Will it help them? How? By making them ‘bitter-er’ or by filling them with love? Will it make them more compassionate or will it fill them with rancor?
Finally, I urge you to guard your heart. Don’t expose yourself to just anything or anyone. Declutter your space. And that is no cliché; there are some alliances you are better off without. Some people you need to say hello and bye to.
There are some statuses you should deliberately mute, if you need to have those numbers on your phone for example, mute them. There are some videos you should never accept to open…
Will you let your neighbour bring their dirty diapers and rotten vegetables from their garbage can to yours?!
So why let people dump their garbage on you? Uncensored. Without consideration to your preferences. Dump. Dump. Dump.
Don’t you know there are some images that would take eons to leave you? Some stories that would make you go home and be so bitter and sad lashing out at those who truly love you because you fear they would do the same to you.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. (Philippians 4:8, The Msg)
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