Unfriending negativity

by Toni Ryan

Someone asked me the other day if I had written anything pertaining to the hate crimes of late. She was in need of a little help in dealing with the negative posts on Facebook as well as conversations she didn’t want to be included in.

I completely understand how she feels. Even though there is an abundance of goodness in the world, it seems the bad news is all that’s focused on within the news media and, quite often, on social media.

Watercooler conversations can easily turn ugly when opinions take over and in situations where unity needs our focus. Family gatherings can get out of hand when certain topics are discussed.

In essentials: unity                                     

In opinions: liberty                                         

In all things: love

Christian or not, good people usually want to bring more joy into the world rather than evil. However, if we’re not careful, it’s easy to get sucked into the constant barrage of negativity.

Since we can’t do anything about what’s happening in the world, we need to ask ourselves what we can do to make our little corner of it a better place. More importantly, what would God have us do to make our sphere of influence more positive and joyful? Let us ask Him, even in the midst of someone spewing hatred, how to show grace and love.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone

Romans 12:18

This verse makes it very clear. It is our responsibility to live in peace with others. It is our prerogative to walk away when a conversation turns ugly. If we feel we can’t walk away, it’s OK to nicely say we are uncomfortable with the topic.

Social media run amok? Maybe we need to hide certain posts from those we are “friends” with on Facebook. We don’t necessarily need to “unfriend,” but hiding certain content is totally acceptable. However, if said “friend” is always posting unkind things that make us uncomfortable, “unfriending” or “unfollowing” is probably what God would have us do. Yep, even praying about social media posts is a good thing to do.

There’s a song by Anne Murray entitled A Little Good News.” I remember when it came out. It is just as true now as it was then. Although the music video was released in 1983, the images mimic much of what we see today.

It may feel as if our world is worse than ever, but it isn’t quite as bad as we think it seems. The difference now is that we have more access to the news of the world than we’ve ever had before.

There has always been, and always will be, evil in the world. Evil, sadly, began with the first set of siblings. Cain and Abel. Cain was jealous of his brother and killed him. Good verses evil will always exist. It’s how we respond to it that makes the difference.

For me, it’s how to raise our children and grandchildren that makes this a much more serious concern. They have way more access to negativity and evil because of social media.

People are more emboldened in what they share and post. Things they would never say to someone face-to-face becomes easy in a post. So sad.

Teaching little ones, and not so little ones, to be respectful is imperative. Teaching them to show grace in spite of negativity will help them as they grow.

Garbage In, Garbage Out                          

Grace And Love In, Grace And Love Out

We need to remember this, not only for our children, but for ourselves, too. If it isn’t something we want our children to see or hear, maybe we shouldn’t be seeing or listening to it either. Just sayin’…

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

Do you have any thoughts on this subject? Let’s all help one another deal with the onslaught of negativity. After all, we’re in this mess called life together. Let’s start a trend of unfriending negativity.

Heavenly Father, we come before You for guidance. Please help us show the love of Your Son in spite of the negativity all around us. Please help us to create a peaceful atmosphere in our homes and places of business. We need Your help Lord. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for grace and the joy that comes from knowing You. In the matchless name of our Lord, Savior and Friend amen.

In His embrace,

Toni