Saturday, October 5, 2013

"Combox Rage": Where Does It Come From?

Comments on social media. Comments on so many circumstances in the news. Often, people don't seem to read carefully, or pay attention to what has happened or how it has been reported. They just sound off. Some switch has been flipped inside them, and they spew stuff out: insults, rash judgments, panic, anger, ranting and rambling.

Reading comboxes can make you pretty depressed about the lack of common sense, charity, or even fairness in people's hearts today. It can make you want to do a facepalm over what appears to be an impenetrable cultural illiteracy in people. All this information accessible through the media is not helping people to learn; rather it seems to be stressing them out, oppressing them, provoking them to lash out.

I don't tend to rant in comboxes, but I have my ways of lashing out, in daily life. Why do I do that? Why do I use words to hurt others? I think its because there are certain circumstances that poke the tender spots; that dig into my fears, my gigantic emotional immaturity, all the wounds and anguish from five decades of life, and all the residue of sins, the crushed expectations, the frustrated hopes, the depths of soul still starving for love, the isolation and loneliness that comes from just being a fragmented and fragile human being.

Some mundane circumstance can stir up in me the deep places of fear and pain. Irrational forces rise up, the issue at hand becomes blurry as I wrestle with the feeling that I need to defend myself.

This contentiousness does not come from peace of heart. It comes from the "old self" that can't be defended, that needs to be surrendered and to die with Jesus and be healed.  

We all have this broken life, full of fear and pain. We must pray for God's mercy and healing, for ourselves, for our loved ones and friends, for all those who have been entrusted to us, for the whole world. We can't "defend" the places inside ourselves that are broken. Instead we must go out, away from these places, to seek out others who are wounded within themselves -- wounded in ways that we cannot comprehend.

Its not hard to find "the poor" in this sense. We are all poor. Our neighbors are poor, and if we are honest with ourselves we know that we have no grounds for treating them with disdain. Of course we try to help them recognize and overcome problems, and we do this with the same compassion that we hope to receive from them. We are Christians because, even with all of our mess, we have been changed by the compassion of Christ. We have come to know His mercy.

Lets never allow ourselves to forget this. And lets share it whatever way we can; lets draw on the patience and magnanimity of God that we have experienced in faith, and accompany the people who are in our lives, who have been given to us by Christ. Lets accompany them with love, even if we don't see any way to "make them better," even if we don't know what to give them. We don't know how to bridge the distance between our unfathomable pain and theirs. Lets remain with them in patience (patience with them and with ourselves). Lets love them and trust in God, because the face of Jesus looks upon us through their suffering.

The only thing that can heal people (that can heal us) is the love and mercy of Jesus.

We can all help one another to give everything -- more and more, deeper and deeper -- to Jesus. We have to give Him especially the stuff that is broken in our lives. Because we can't fix it. Only He can fix it.

Whatever weighs upon us, lets give it to Him and ask Him to have mercy on us.