Be kind and keep scrolling.

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I don’t like it when people are mean. I don’t enjoy arguments or “debates.” I don’t enjoy reading threads of comments on controversial Facebook posts. And I don’t like seeing people put others down for thinking differently or having an opposing view.

Guess what? You don’t agree.

You’re never going to convince someone by arguing and putting them down. Meanness, rudeness, and put-downs have never once won over another person. So stop! Just. Stop.

Don’t mock others by reacting with a laughing face on a comment you disagree with. Don’t dual it out with someone because you couldn’t possibly understand their thought process. We talk about love and accepting all people, and yet we hide behind our screens vindictively throwing our words like knives. Never mind that we may not know all the facts about a situation. Never mind that it may ruin someone’s life. It doesn’t matter, right? Because all that matters is being right. All that matters is having the last say.

Is that really all that matters? Really?

We talk about being open hearted and loving and accepting of all people because we’re all Children of God. I get it. I really do. Sometimes people do things that are unacceptable. And it’s hard! It’s so hard… not to judge them or condemn them for crimes of abuse. It is awful! But it is also not our place. Of course, justice will always take precedence during those situations, and I am immensely grateful for that. But it is not our place to crucify someone all over the internet. Especially because… what if it wasn’t true? What if that person everyone thought abused a child, actually didn’t? What if later in life… proof came out that the person was innocent? And yet, because of everyone else’s opinions and thoughts on Facebook, their life would be ruined.

I know it’s easy to jump to conclusions. I know it’s easy to let your anger and disgust and disbelief take over. But please… check the facts before you decide someone should “lose their job.” And if it turns out that the facts are true… then check with yourself before posting what you want to say. Is that comment something you really want your name attached to, and saved in cyberspace forever?

It is SO easy to get upset and offended. The harder thing is to move on without retaliating at all. The hardest thing of all is letting it go.

I’m not saying don’t stand up for what you believe in. That’s not it at all. I’m saying be careful what you say. Sometimes, I imagine that when we die and face the judgements of God, He will sit across from us and open a book. In that book will be recorded every text message, every comment, every Reaction we posted online. What will those comments and messages say about us? Will we be ashamed? Sorry? Indignant? Or… will those posts reflect kindness, light, love, and support for one another?

And if you must say something: if you truly feel like it is your duty or obligation to contradict someone else, or that you need to stand up for something you believe in – then please, do so. However, do it with class. Be honest. Be genuine. Be kind in your comments. There is no need to degrade or belittle someone else. There is no need to use derogatory language while proving your point. Provide a thought-out opinion or testimony on the subject. If the other person continues to disagree and argue with you: please drop it. After a comment or two, it is usually apparent if someone will we persuaded or not to your thinking. If they are not, then don’t worry about it. If they choose to use derogatory terms while addressing you, let them. You’ve said what you felt you needed to say… so let it go.

It is sad that even now, when people post a calculated comment, without any unkind words about the opposite party, that others will immediately attack. It is like vultures circling their next meal. We teach our children not to cyberbully online, when in reality most of us don’t realize that we are doing it ourselves. We have created an atmosphere that makes people afraid to interject their opinion on a subject. Or, maybe someone does say their opinion and later deletes it, because they can’t take the shaming from everyone else.

Please be kind. Please think twice about entering into an online debate on a controversial topic, even if the topic disgusts or angers you. Take a deep breath. Ask yourself, will your comment truly benefit the situation or are you looking to blow off some steam? If it is the latter… take another deep breath and keep scrolling.

Love, Shalee

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