Let me describe the scene:
I’ve just read something controversial on the web. It may be a blog, a news article, an editorial – whatever, the point is it bothers me. I believe it’s wrong or ignorant or ill-informed or many other adjectives. I begin to read the comments. There are strong reactions on both sides. With each comment I’m either vigorously nodding my head with a silent “yes! exactly!” or shaking it emphatically with a “are you kidding me? are you an idiot?”.
And of course, I have to add my comment, my voice …..so important it is, so compelling, so necessary.
And then there’s a link – to someone else who’s reacted. And I go to that link and read another article and the same thing happens. Whether it’s a link to a good source of information or a not so good source doesn’t matter – what matters is that the link draws me in and now I am fully a part of this viral reaction.
And I know I should get back to work, I know this is a terrible use of time, I know that the “Whatsoever is good, lovely, excellent, pure” thoughts left the first time I called someone an idiot for disagreeing. But no matter – because I am locked into this cycle and I need to see it through.
And see it through I do – to the end of the day and on into the night. Each link a little more compelling, each opinion putting its hooks into my mind.
I’m swept along in this swiftly rushing river of comments and reactions and I can’t find my way to the edge. I don’t realize that I’m heading straight towards a steep waterfall – and when I get there, I will go over the edge. I’ll be beyond saving.
And night-fall comes and I lay down in bed and I am exhausted – exhausted because all day long I’ve been silently reacting. I’ve wasted valuable time and energy on reacting. I’ve been unfaithful to myself and my God because of reacting.
When is it time to stop the madness, to draw the line and say “No more”.
No more because time is a gift, and I’m wasting it. No more because my reacting is affecting no one but myself. My voice is lost and I’ve read so much I don’t even know what I think anymore – I just react.
This reacting on the internet is our modern-day mob mentality. While we look in horror at televised scenes of the Middle East and other parts of the world where mobs take over and terrible things happen, the same thing is taking place all around us. Seemingly the results aren’t as harmful but they are. Through our reacting, reputations are ruined, friendships broken, and minds made more ignorant.
I want to live above this reacting but it will take discipline and living counter-culture; it will take humility and realizing that my voice isn’t that important. It will take courage and help.
How about you? Are you exhausted from reacting and want to live above the fray? Or is this not your struggle? Let’s talk about this!