I love social media. It helps me with my business, it keeps me connected to friends, it helps me stay up on current events, it makes me laugh and reminds me that every single day there are people celebrating and suffering at the very same time.
But in just one week, I can watch people using it as a platform to criticize the following: people who are gay, people who have had abortions, people who receive government assistance, people who go to church, people who don’t go to church, people who drink, people who don’t drink, people who are too fat and people who are too skinny.
I have chosen not to use Facebook or Twitter or bumper stickers to let people know how I feel about political, religious and health issues. But I get that people feel that they have this voice through these things and feel empowered to use it. Heck, I write a blog! What I can’t get my head around is the lack of compassion and empathy that folks in our our country and our world seem to have for each other.
Thankfully, I grew up in a very open home. My parents did not spare me stories and facts about our relatives and friends. I knew that our loved ones were gay, had abortions, did drugs, sold drugs, were alcoholics, attempted suicide, and committed suicide. I loved and respected all of these people. I knew that our lives and their lives were not easy so we had to stick together.
When I see these critical posts and comments, my mind automatically goes to the people who just got hurt or offended by what was said and how much greater our divide just became. I suppose that is the point. I can tell you most certainly that these words are not changing anyone or drawing them closer to their God, religions or beliefs. I go to church less than I ever have in my entire life. When I was first separated, I visited a church alone that someone recommended. It was small and I definitely stood out from the pews of families, but I was hopeful that I would hear comforting words that day. Do you know what I heard instead? A top ten list of what is wrong with America. And guess what number one was…divorce. This criticism of who I am or what I have done did nothing but drive me away.
I do consider myself to be open minded and I have to constantly remind myself not to be closed minded about my open-mindedness. I don’t want to live in a bubble where only people who agree with me live. But I hurt when I hear a woman being mocked because she is receiving WIC for she and her children. I am crushed when I see someone who is gay posting that “God doesn’t hate me” because of all this ridiculous Chick Fila propaganda. I feel sad for the scared and lonely woman when I see the “pro-life” bumper sticker or billboard.
We are blessed to live in a country where we are free to speak our opinions and beliefs, but blanket statements about people we know nothing about are hurtful. This melting pot was suppose to be a land of brothers and sisters and regardless of what is legal or illegal, your “friends” and “followers” are real people living real lives and making decisions as best they can each day. So in the advice of Don Miguel Ruiz, be impeccable with your words.