Final Thoughts – The Bachelor

I always end up having mixed feelings with this franchise, including the female version of it The Bachelorette. I have no idea why I continue to watch it. It’s a combination of humor in all of the personalities and the overly cheesy romantic situations. There’s also the fact that each year there seems to be nothing else on TV and it’s mindless to watch after a long day. This year I really appreciated one of the contestant’s Britt. She is a Christian, very free-spirited, and surprisingly never said a harsh word to anyone. This is VERY uncommon when you watch enough of these shows and people take to the “confessional” during each episode to gossip about each other.

I’ve noticed there is a lot of social media hate on this girl and it literally blew my mind to see. Why do people hate this girl so much? Why are they going to her personal social media pages to cyberbully her? I don’t get it.

I think this opened my eyes to a larger problem–which is in part cyberbullying and in part the entertainment people seem to get from tearing other people down.

Over the past 5 years I’ve been bombarded with stories in the news. Girls who were bullied to the point of suicide, students who would bombard classmates with hate mail or texts encouraging them to kill themselves or feel bad about themselves, and technological developments like Burn Book. For those who don’t know, this is an app where people can anonymously create and view posts. My stomach literally turned when this was covered by Good Morning America.

https://gma.yahoo.com/video/burnbook-app-under-fire-allegedly-130705504.html

One male student in the video named Tatum looked himself up on the app and saw a post that read “Tatum should get cancer like his mother and die”. Are you kidding me? This is our society. This is what people do on social media. This is what people do as an extracurricular activity.

I’m merely siting this as one of many examples where people’s opinions, posts, tweets, comments, etc are going too far. For whatever reason social media acts as a mask to be confrontational. You can rip apart a celebrity and their body, you can tell a classmate that they should die, you can talk about a contestant on a popular dating show and feel entitled to that opinion even if it’s ugly.

I made a Twitter many years ago and back when I didn’t know what I wanted to write or do with my enjoyment of writing for fun in my free time–I had created a twitter as a commentary on various shows like American Idol. I never bullied anyone. I never ripped someone apart but I would be a liar if I didn’t say I commented on whether someone sung well or not. Or compared people to villains in movies. Granted it’s not telling someone to die, but it’s still not the best use of your words.

I think as both a participant and viewer over the years of these things, I’ve come to a point where I no longer want to perpetuate negativity. I don’t think you have to be so syrupy and only say nice things, but you can say things that might be truthful in a better way. Let me give you an example.

I follow someone on social media who has a large following. This user professes 24/7 to be a Christian and yet makes consistent judgmental and negative remarks about another Christian in their social circle. I had watched this go on for months. Because of that user’s large following other people began to jump on the bandwagon and agree or perpetuate more negative observations and more than likely assumptions about this person’s character and actions. It was like being kicked in the stomach to see transpire. I kid you not. It ate away at me but I never commented until yesterday when I merely asked this person why there was so much hate when both individuals are Christians. In other words if you are both Christians, why can’t you bite your tongue if you have nothing nice to say? Why can’t you extend some grace to this person instead of joining in with the rest of the “haters” on the Internet and assuming the worst about this person and their character?

Well let me tell you. People agreed. And people disagreed. And somehow I became the target of a few of my own haters and called a hypocrite for even posing the question to begin with.

I’m not here to clear my name. I’ve been guilty of judging other people, Christians included. If we’re honest–we all have. But it is one thing to be a fruit inspector and another thing to be a fruit thrower. What I mean is, it’s valid and Biblical to question someone. To be curious about their actions and if they line up with Scripture. To strive to see Truth lived out. But there is also another aspect which is to have Grace. I think it would be fair for this person to say “I don’t know this person that I’m judging but I’m wondering if they are genuine. I hope they are” instead of “I’m disgusted by this person” or “We don’t endorse this person” or “This person works a low-level job and must only have selfish ambition” or “I like to see this person cry”. Granted I’m paraphrasing but I see all these things and it’s sadistic. Why as a society do we derive pleasure–retweets, likes, shares, from narrating other people’s perceived flaws? Why when we disagree with someone or something do we need to put down other people who don’t agree with us? Why are we always going for the jugular? Why are we booing and throwing “fruit” at people as we sit and mock from the audience?

The Bible says:

This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you? (James 3:7-10 MSG)

God knows there is nothing new under the Sun. People are doing today what they did throughout time. The tongue has caused damage for years and nowadays our tongues are hidden behind screens and have transformed into typing fingers. Accusing fingers. Scolding fingers.

I had a hard time sleeping last night because I was so disappointed by people on the Internet. Especially Christians. How can we follow Jesus and simultaneously crucify our brothers and sisters with our tongues? How do we justify who gets grace and who doesn’t? How can we make judgements on people when we are supposed to be speaking light and life into them? Hoping for and expecting the best from them.

I like this photo with the quote at the beginning of the post because it’s true. We can defend our own behavior but God help you if you are an “other”. We can easily forgive ourselves but rip apart someone else. We can sympathize with our own mistakes and mis-placed words or actions saying “it was a joke” or “no offense” or “you just don’t understand my personality” but if we see something we don’t understand in another person why are we quick to jump to the worst conclusion?

I sincerely pray that we as Christians learn that there are consequences to our tongues and fingers. We aren’t anything special just because we are saved. Jesus is the special one. He constantly advocated for the bullied. He reminded us that none of us are righteous and without fault. My mom said it best when she reminded me “Christians are the first to shoot their wounded”. It’s true. If you are going to make a comment in public you have the power to guide that conversation. Are you saying something necessary? Are you saying something kind? Are you saying something true?

I think this person is entitled to an opinion but they are not entitled to judgment. You are not God. You don’t know that person’s journey. You can’t see that person’s heart. Would it kill people to only say one half of a comment–the necessary side? i.e. if you support Person A but not B can’t you just say “I support Person A”? Why as humans is it necessary to say “I support Person A because I think Person B is horrible.” Why is that important? Or better yet as a supporter of Person A why do you feel like you need to prowl like a hungry lion on Person B’s personal pages and write nasty comments about them?

I don’t support the way society is behaving and enabling the younger generations to behave. I pray for more grace. I pray for tongues and fingers to be humble in what they say and write. To extend mercy towards people they don’t know instead of mockery.

Found on beatrizcraven.com

Monday Inspiration 1.12.15

I backslid yesterday. It’s been a while since I allowed the actions of others to make me question myself and after confiding in my mom about how I was feeling I actually felt sick afterwards. I think this is why Philippians 4:8 instructs us to think good thoughts and positive things:

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Without going into a whole bunch of detail I was reminded of something that is actually still a bit painful–which is that while I am very involved in church that I still find myself not having any “real” friends. What I mean is..it’s easy to be included on a Sunday but from Mon-Sat it’s very rare that I’ll be texted or asked to hang out. I’ve often felt a little…unwanted in church and when I was of school age–in school. To feel like you’re liked but you’re not an integral part of a group. That’s all I want to say about that so I don’t stir up bad feelings again. But most of us feel that way at one point or another–or even worse you feel that way the majority of the time.

I’ve been content over the years to just hang out with my mom, or cat, or Jesus. And while these are all good things–there’s still that “community” aspect that a lot of us are looking for. It can be difficult to feel that you are in a church, volunteering, in a Bible study, part of an extracurricular sport, whatever it is and still feel disconnected.

I think it’s important to remember that most of the time these feelings of rejection or loneliness are straight from the Devil. He wants us to feel bad and alone. If anything in those times I try to realign myself by listening to a worship album or reading the Bible or blogging about it. Ultimately if I never made another friend in the world, God can and will supply all my needs. But God is good, all the time, and sometimes you need to just accept for whatever reason you are in this season alone just you and God. Maybe He is sparing you from toxic relationships, maybe He wants you all to Himself to speak private personal things that only you need to hear on your journey with Him. It’s not a blanket statement–and we are all on unique journeys.

But I liked this quote, which I’ve heard is actually from George MacDonald not CS Lewis, because it reminds us all that we are more glorious than we think. We were “born in God’s thought and then made by God”. That is who we are. We are not defined by human praise or relationships or our past or our human weaknesses, we are defined by God and God alone. If God thought we were a good idea–then we are a good idea. If God thought we were important to bring into this time on Earth then we were.

You are a precious thing. I am a precious thing. And I’m inspired to meditate on these facts always.

Found on prettyprovidence.com

Thursday Inspiration 10.9.14

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Today was far too busy to start with a positive thought but I can end with one before bed. The Lord is with me and His words are everlasting in hope, truth and love.

Matthew 24:35-44 (MSG)

32-35 “Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner. So it is with you: When you see all these things, you’ll know he’s at the door. Don’t take this lightly. I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for all of you. This age continues until all these things take place. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.

Tuesday Inspiration 9.9.14

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I saw this picture randomly online and really loved it because of the truth it contains. I never thought about it like this but it is so spot on. Let it be a great reminder about where our thoughts can lead us and how to keep focused on the present.

It’s a simple reminder.

1. Looking at the past will only make you depressed

Isaiah 43 (MSG)

18-19 “Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?”

 

2. Looking into the future will only make you anxious

Matthew 6:34 (MSG)

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

 

3. Looking at the present will keep you at peace

Psalm 118 (NIV)

24 “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it”

 

 

Photo Credit: thewellnesswarrior.com.au

Monday Inspiration 9.8.14

Today I feel kind of heavy.

It’s not how I’ve been feeling lately and I was literally just reflecting and wondering why. I think it actually started Saturday night when a random stranger exposed his “family business” to me while passing by in his car. Like normally I can laugh. How ridiculous and stupid and move on. But it was merely the fact that it was done at all that was bothering me–and the feeling of “gross why does weird stuff like this always happen to me?”

That same night out of the blue a friend of mine asked “So when are you getting married?” across the dinner table. No rhyme no reason. And then out of the blue last night I was hit with some memories from my past right before falling asleep and was swept over for a few moments in heavy emotions. 

So today I remind myself that I am a child, a princess of the King of the Universe. He has brought me near to Him. Therefore I do not need to turn around to the past, or focus on what people do to me or say to me that I didn’t ask for. All that movement does is loosen the “crown” from your head. God regards me and all of those who have accepted Him as seated with Christ in glory. If I continually set my eyes on things above–I will never risk my “crown” falling. 

God is absolutely faithful. He longs to spend time with me and remind me who I am. His feelings for me transcend what happens to me in this life and what people may think or say about me. His feelings also are more true than anything I might believe about myself. I will continue to renew my mind with His word and seek verses that remind me of his unconditional love. So often quiet time can create space for the Enemy to whisper lies but luckily we are equipped with the Truth of God’s word and are always able to call out to Him in our times of need. 

I am extremely happy that I’e been consistent in my blogging and connection with God but there is always room for improvement. I hope to be able to create even more meditation and prayer time to refresh my mind and heart with my Father’s sweet promises for my daily life and my future. 

“Father, fill my spare moments with thoughts of you and your love for me. I want to ponder your Word and your glory in my heart all day long” – Vicki P. Graham.

 

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com