In his commentary, Warren Wiersbe quotes G. A Studdart Kennedy. My words… faith is not doing things despite evidence, rather despite consequence.1
During my younger years I once heard an elder’s wife humbly state that when she gets to Heaven, she is going to have lots of questions for God, “Lots,” she reiterated. Her countenance was kind, but authentically perplexed at what she had witnessed in life which turned out opposite despite her obedience…it was so clear, how could the boat have been missed at their home when others received the blessings of promise upon walking by faith? Interpretation mine having spoken privately to her.
I don’t know.
Sometimes I wonder why we reduce life’s interpretations to clichés and memes rather than comfort the afflicted, laugh with the happy and serve the needy? Yes, it is going on today, but it is different. Communication has been reduced to social media pictures, posts and the unfortunate arguments raising molehills into mountains.
Conversely, social media has been used to keep loved ones together who are miles apart and unable to enjoy in-person experiences. I have no problem with social media’s benefits, but it’s problems need addressing, and add to the ancient clichés..
“We have to live with the consequences of our actions…they’re getting what they deserve…ignorance is no excuse.”
We are the equalizers. Humans have a spark of the divine. It is up to us to give comfort to the afflicted, encourage the discouraged and give hope to the hopeless. Mark Twain once said I can live for two months on a good compliment.2
When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’ then he will save the downcast. -Job 22:29/NIV
Social media is definitely not social, but it is media. People have their own networks, TV programs and radio shows ad hoc. I find myself in this conundrum. It only becomes social when lived out in the context of real communication, via phone or in person, or the message gets interpreted incorrectly…through an old lens, through our current perceptions, but are posts being interpreted the way they once were? Giving others the benefit of the doubt? There is a debate on how to improve social media as the intent was to bring people together, rather it has had dire consequences…starting wars among friends, in families on up to countries.
What are the consequences of living our faith out in such a world which one minute presupposes love and acceptance in person, but on media projects a different persona…consequence? I don’t have the answer. But one thing’s for sure, you cannot go wrong with a good compliment, a phone check in or get together. Social media cannot substitute for love in flesh.
According to documentaries like the Social Dilemma and other studies, consequences of faith in a high tech world seem to be polarizing many people who once were more social, and the real outcome is yet to be seen.3 But one thing’s for sure. We need each other more than we need social media. There is nothing like the effect of a hug, sharing a meal, game or movie night, and returning to a decorum of in-personal relationship. I believe it mitigates the consequences of unnecessary loneliness, misunderstanding and raises the mental health quotient of humanity.
We were made highly relational creatures. What if we added up the hours we spend weekly on social media and traded some of those in for in-person meetups? I am less on social media, but when I get on, I am amazed at the amount of selfies, couples’ outings as opposed to the rare group meetups which once used to be our entertainment before the age of TV…even then, in the early years, the family was known to huddle around the tube for a laugh or show with a good lesson.
Our God has given us the gift of each other by first giving us His most precious gift, His perfect Son who took on all of our mess that we might be the message of hope to one another in all we do. His covenant was designed to produce consequences of grace, a grace bigger than our understanding and senses. Without faith, it is impossible to begin to understand what may be going on. But we can be filled with the joy that God knows and loves us despite what the material world may be speaking in the moment.
1Warren W. Wiersbe. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary. David C. Cook. 2003. P. 60.
2Brainy quotes. Brainyquotes.com
3The Social Dilemma. Jeff Orlowski, director. Larissa Rhodes, producer. Netflix. Exposure Labs Argent Pictures The Space Program, production companies, Boulder, CO. 2020.