An Almost Goodbye
There have been many times I have almost deleted Facebook. This week was the closest I have ever come to following through and actually doing it though. However, before I jump in I need to back up and explain the why.
Everyone has a world view, and their world view acts like a filter which they see everything around them through. My filter comes from my Christian faith. It is the most integral part of my life, and the filter that I see everything through. It’s common for Christians to say things like, “Filter it through the Bible,” which is the written God-breathed book that I believe God has given the world. The point is: without this filter my life would be completely different! I have tried to take Jesus out of the equation when explaining my position on numerous social issues, but I have discovered that it’s just not possible. Everything in my life and all of my decisions have been shaped in some way by my world view.
1. Your world view shapes everything in your life.
A hot topic as of late is politics — Now, before you flee my page, out of frustration with yet another post about specific issues or people slam on those brakes! This is not a post about politics. Well, at least not in the sense you are thinking. Just give me a chance to explain what this has to do with filters and worldview’s. Believe me I am just as sick of politics as the rest of you. I am especially tired of reading posts by people I disagree with — which are numerous considering I have a diverse group of friends.
Politics, when I say that word each of you reading this immediately has a definition, specific emotions, and thoughts that come to mind. This is because each of you has a world view that has shaped the way you look at things. Now, if I were to get more specific and mention the name of a politician or a piece of legislation I am certain that you would have an opinion about it. However, you and I might not share the same opinion — and this is where the conflict of these kinds of discussions comes in.
Facebook is a perfect example of where conflict of opinions can turn nasty, even between friends! This is largely because when we hear an opinion that we classify as “stupid” it is usually because it doesn’t align with our worldview. However, since everything goes through this filter, for Christians that is the Bible and our faith, we can find it near impossible to understand where the other person is coming from. Likewise, your friend may find it equally difficult to understand your stance, if they have a different worldview. Therefore, posting articles or strong opinions to Facebook usually creates more problems than it solves.
2. Not everyone has the same worldview.
It’s easy to get hung up on a specific thing someone says. It is even simpler to write passionate responses in the comment section of a post where you can’t see the person you are replying to. The intensity of these responses generally escalates with each comment, and instead of either person changing their mind they both become defensive. Emotion takes control and anger sets in along with intense frustration. That is until they finally resign themselves to the thought that the other person is completely “ignorant.” Often times these discussions end by both people resorting to saying so to the other and with far less flowery language. I am guilty of thinking such thoughts myself, so I write this post not from a position of “I have the answers, and I have everything figured out,” but rather the position of trusting the Lord to do a work inside of me as I continue to seek answers and the proper response to this problem.
So, after deciding that I wished to have no part in posting anything remotely political on Facebook, because I was done with the conflict. I was left wondering, and I asked God; “What is the proper response to this Lord? How do I show your love in this and let you shine through my actions and words?”
So, now that you are caught up I can jump back in to the present and where I am going with all of this. I had nearly come to the decision that, because of the stress it was causing, I was going to delete my Facebook account. However, I wanted to wait and see where God led first — I wasn’t in any hurry to say goodbye to my biggest connection to friends around the globe either. Facebook can be a great connector, so even though there’s drama it’s still an awesome resource.
Thankfully, he answered my questions quite quickly, and I won’t be deleting it anytime soon.
It was this morning when the answer came. It was like a lightbulb turning on; I realized something that was so simple, but at the same time revolutionary to the Christian approach on this topic (well topic(s) if you will ;).
If we filter everything through our worldview then shouldn’t we be working to change that first not change the opinion on a specific issue? How are we going to change the way people think and view things, if we don’t change the broken filter they are viewing them through first? We can’t!
3. You have to fix the filter before you can discuss picture.
I quickly came to the conclusion that as a Christian my method should not be Facebook comment wars (obviously) that led to feelings of animosity towards friends. It should instead be working to change worldviews of those friends. Yes, those topics of debate are still important, and they deserve to be discussed and advocated for, and I think there is a time to speak up and a time to be silent. Without fixing the filter first though the picture is still going to come through just as broken and distorted no matter how many facts you present a person with or how good your intentions are.
In closing, I hope that this will help provide a different perspective for approaching conversations with friends especially about politics, because I don’t foresee that topic dying down anytime soon. I hope that you will take what I said, about changing their worldview before attacking issues, to heart as well. If you choose to continue discussing weighty issues with friends who don’t hold the same world view though, remember to speak with grace and patience. Because, if they aren’t looking through the filter of Jesus then they really are looking through a broken filter, and their picture is going to be distorted.
If you approach discussions with grace, patience, and this knowledge then hopefully you will be able to walk away afterwards with more peace and so will your friend. I personally will still be mostly remaining silent on Facebook, regarding politics. However, I will be praying for the people who I disagree with that they would have a worldview change, and for their filter to be restored through Christ. In the mean time I will continue praying for grace and peace.
Love and prayers,
PS: For those of you worried about the condition of our world don’t become discouraged and forget what John 16:33 and Hebrews 13:14 tell us. This world is not our home, and God has already overcome everything in it and around it because HE reigns almighty (Revelation 19:16).