Tag Archives: facebook

Full of grace, seasoned with salt.

7 Oct

A couple of weeks ago, a blog post was written about the attitude of young girls on Facebook. The writer described how teenage girls’ selfies are a stumbling block to her growing sons and that sadly, (girl)friends on Facebook who will display inappropriate photos will have to be unfriended. Her blog post went viral and created mixed emotions around the world. It certainly generated discussions in my neighborhood and was a main topic at my daughter’s birthday party (among the parents, not the children!)

The writer’s intention was not to hurt anyone’s feelings nor to be judgemental. Her intention was not – but the impact was unfortunately not what she intended. Her post was considered by some to be unkind and judgemental; for me, it made me reflect on whether it truly reflected who we want to be as Christians.

Part of our discussion here in my house was around the question: how would you have done it? Was it just a matter of tone? Should she have chosen different words?

My initial reaction when I read her post was to be angry and frustrated. I am a Christian woman and a mother and I have real concerns over what is accessible on the internet. I have two young boys and the idea of helping and teaching them to keep their mind pure is, at times, overwhelming. I have a daughter and the task of teaching and showing her to ground her identity in Christ and not in the fleeting values of this world is, at times, overwhelming. I too, feel my blood pressure rise when I see teenage kids doing the exact opposite of what I would want for, or what is helpful to my own children. I too, feel like walking up to them and say “really….???”.

But then I go back 20 years ago, and I remember that teenage girl that wore tight pants and low-cut tee-shirts. I remember that teenage girl that would have done anything to attract the boys attention, just because it felt good, just because she needed to be accepted and loved and she didn’t know any other way of doing it. She didn’t know that there was a God who loved her a thousand times more than any man looking at her with lustful eyes. If somebody had said to her “If you dress like that, you cannot be friends with my family”, she would have felt judged and misunderstood. She would have felt alone and angry. She certainly would not have tried to understand where that somebody was coming from. She would have been taken away from an opportunity to know Jesus – the one who accepts even the prostitute.

The day I gave my life to Jesus was the day I understood that He had always loved me unconditionally. And on that day, I was probably wearing inappropriate clothes.

So how would I have done it? Was it just a matter of tone and different words?

There are no words kind enough to reject the outsider based on his behaviour. There is no tone gentle enough to judge the outsider. 1 Corinthians 5 puts it so simply: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside”. The word of God has so many beautiful things to say to those who still try to find love, acceptance and purpose in the things of this world.  I have been given a precious gift to share with the girl who is selling herself so short on her public profile. Would not the knowledge that the Lord loves her as she is be more life-changing than the knowledge that her clothes are too skimpy? It is tempting to enforce our moral compass on the people outside our faith, but how disastrous an effect it has on them.

The Lord has not called me to control their behaviour. He asks me to control my own, and He has given me the responsibility to teach my boys how to control their own. I cannot blame the girls’ dressing code for my boys’ lustful thoughts.(Would that not be a lost battle anyway??) No, my boys need to learn to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. They need to know deep in their heart that the lasting beauty of a woman does not only lie in her bosom (because let’s be honest, some of her beauty is in her bosom!) but more importantly in her heart where she nurtures Jesus.

I know that the responsibility is on my boys’ shoulders. However, I also know that, until my boys reach a certain level of discernment, I will monitor their online presence, unfriending people with questionable profiles if it helps them. I want my boys to grow to the point where they find the quiet confidence to detach themselves from the girls whose selfies make it too hard for them not to stumble in their thoughts. I want them to know in their hearts that the Lord values women so much that He would hate for them to have a distorted view of them by looking at their ‘sexy’ pictures and lust after them. Until they are mature enough, I have the responsibility to guide and encourage them.

If my responsibility to outsiders is to present to them how wonderful the Gospel is, a lot of thought is to be put into my online presence.The widespread online media makes it that much more difficult to act and react in a way that brings glory to the Lord’s name. Social networks are a knife with a very sharp blade. Sometimes we cut more than we intended. Most of us have good intentions for doing or writing the things we do. But sometimes, good motives aren’t enough. The only stumbling block to someone’s view of the Lord should be the Lord Himself, not our pet-peeves and rantings.

Let us be bold of the Gospel, of Jesus who forgives, of the Lord who loves, of the undeserved gift that He freely gives us.

His word will bring conviction and repentance.

Not ours.

What’s on your mind?

28 May

 “What’s on your mind?” is staring at me. Everyday as I open Facebook, they ask me what is on my mind. I usually settle for something funny about my kids, or something really ridiculous I read or heard…Not quite a heart-to-heart writing.

Imagine we let our guards down for a moment and answer truthfully and insightfully this computer generated question.

What’s on my mind?

Well, I wonder what other mums think of me when my kids are having a little moment in public (ie at school) because I said ‘no’ to an ice bite. Then once my self-consciousness is gone, I feel guilty – and stupid – for caring about what other mums (that I don’t even know) think of me. I am here to please the Lord, not men (or women). How immature can I be to care about other people’s opinions! As if their kids never have a tantrum. Well maybe they do, but over an ice bite? So I don’t want to care about what others think. Good. But surely I must care about the fact  that my kids throw their toys out their cot (figuratively speaking of course because they aren’t in a cot anymore. At least I got that one right!) over something seemingly insignificant. Sigh.

Then I’m thinking about slander – not about doing it –  I’m thinking over something I heard about slander and how destructive it can be. What about all the things I think about people, things that influence my behaviour and opinions about them. That’s hard. I can have (some ) control over my tongue, but surely I can’t control the things that are going through my mind. Well, yes says the Bible. That’s where it all starts. If I think that Jane Doe is a cow, I’m not going to feel very positive towards her and I might not be very nice to her when I see her. And even with good motives, poor Jane’s actions are tainted  in my heart with the judgement I already made about her. I struggle with that. I want to be able to see the good things others do, even if I don’t like them. Sigh.

And then there’s my husband, my dear, precious husband whom I love so much (I think he might read that). I think he’s pretty great – on most days. He drives me up the wall when he comes home stressed from work and starts picking on me because my bag is on the table, because there are some papers on the kitchen table when he ESPECIALLY built these shelves for my ‘paperasserie’, and because I didn’t go to gym and once I lose my membership,then it’s lost forever, and also because I forgot to phone the people for (fill out any boring admin task) and finally because I did not lock the front door… And he’s probably right on most of these things (except my bag on the table, that, I will never conceive!). Marriage is wonderful and wonderfully hard. It’s hard sometimes to love him more than myself. Sigh.

And this is what’s been on my mind these past few days. Not enough lines in my status update.

 

What has been on your mind?
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