It’s possible that never in the history of the world have human beings felt more entitled to their own feelings and opinions. Of course, opinions have always been thrown around during dinner table conversations, but never have so many people in this world felt that they have a platform, a megaphone, a soapbox to lecture from. Social media has filled in the gap between fool and expert, and it is filling the world with foolishness disguised as expertise. How clearly we see it in these days. Yet that doesn’t seem to stop us from creating a shiny, clanging idol of our own opinions.
We love to chime in, to give the world our hot take on the latest controversy as if all of humanity is turning blue, holding its breath to see what we have to say about the matter. In recent days, we’ve even gotten pressure from many online to spout our opinions, to open our mouths and speak whether or not we know what to say. Just say something, man! the social media gods demand. So, we fashion our idols with our own hands, convinced that our opinions are needed, that our feelings are all-important, and that every word that comes out of our mouths has earth-shattering power to blow people’s minds. It’s a particularly spectacular case of pride on display.
God gave us minds so that we can think, so that we can have opinions and thoughts and ideas. So that we can make real decisions. So that we can be creative and persuasive and so that we can speak the truth of God’s word with eloquence and sincerity. So that we can think of others, so we can sympathize and we can listen and learn and understand. He gave us minds so that we can, at least in our finite way, begin to understand the greatness of God, the depravity of our own hearts, and the depth of our need for Him. These minds were designed to help us understand how low and humble we really are, but over and over again we push back against that with our prideful hearts, and we idolize our own thinking above God’s truth. We pilfer ideas from the world and post them on social media, having no real clue in many cases that they are directly opposed to what God says. And even when we do promote good, biblical truth on our platforms, we tend to feel proud of ourselves and wait with anticipation for the pats on the back we’re sure to receive in the form of likes and comments of praise. We’ve learned to love the sound of our own voice and to love the feel of our personal feelings and to enjoy the thrill of putting ourselves on display on social media (whether we have anything godly or good to contribute or not).
I know I’m being hard on us. But these are times that call for true humility (not virtue signaling), godly wisdom (not the regurgitation of worldly platitudes), peace (not anger), discernment (not noise). It’s a time for being broken-hearted for the lost, the sick, the sad, and the outcast. It’s a time to quietly examine ourselves, to carefully consider the word of God, to refuse to build our thoughts and feelings into cheap idols to bow down to, remembering that God’s thoughts are so much higher. It’s a peculiar thing, setting up our far inferior ideas and gold-plating them in our hearts. We have to know the truth to live it. And we have to live the truth in humility, not for our own glory, but for God’s. God gave us minds so that we can ask ourselves questions like these: How can social media be a beacon of hope for a dying world? How can it shine so much light into the darkness that all of eternity is better because it existed? How can we bring glory to our Savior through our thoughts and opinions on social platforms? How can we tear down our idols of personal opinion and replace them with the simple truth of God?
This, Melissa, is probably one of the best articles I’ve ever read! It’s humbling, but it’s something we desperately need to hear. Thank you so much for courageously addressing this issue!
Debbie, thank you so much!
Wonderful article Melissa.
Melissa, well said and well done. I love this; “It’s a peculiar thing, setting up our far inferior ideas and gold-plating them in our hearts. We have to know the truth to live it. And we have to live the truth in humility, not for our own glory, but for God’s.” Amen.
In 2016, I wrote “Fifteen Minutes into Eternity–The War Between the Human Spirit and the Holy Spirit.” It’s getting a fresh edit, but I’d be happy to send you one if you’re interested. The purpose is to challenge readers to know why they believe as they do and that it matters if what they believe is true. Where you find yourself fifteen minutes after physical death is where you spend eternity.
Your post would make a wonderful sidebar in the book.
From the chapter, “It’s All About Me”: “People have long considered folks from other nations, sects, clans, or religions dangerous, inconvenient, or less-than-human. Human nature fears what it does not understand. Common interests create common ground, but sometimes there is no common ground. Since Cain slew Abel, existential battles have waged between deity and men, between deity and deity, and between men and men. We have come full circle. The battle today is the battle for your eternity.
By the late 1920s the collectivist perspective had all but disappeared from mainstream social psychology. Instead of God, country, or family first, western cultures encouraged and rewarded policies of “Me: first, last, and always.”
Thank you for this piece. I found it on Tim Challies’ A La Carte today.
Wow, your insights are not only challenging for all of us who have a social presence, but extremely timely! At our staff meeting today, we were discussing several of our young adults who are “yelling” via social media and specifically within our youth groups. Thank you for listening so well to the Lord and encouraging us to live the truth in humility. Your words will help us instruct and guide them to the One we should be worshiping, rather than the idols of self and platform.
May He bless you richly, sister!
Thank you Melissa. I agree that it’s something we desperately need to hear. Well said! May God bless you and your family. Bennie
excellent, especially for opinionated people like myself! Definitely used to help my sanctification!
Well written and so true. Thank you for writing a timely article that truly gets to the heart of the matter. Soli Deo Gloria