Image Credit: Rolling Stones
The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. -Proverbs 18:17
The Kid Who Enraged Social Media
If you've been on Facebook or Twitter over the past several days, you may have encountered videos or articles about a young man staring into the face of a Native American man beating a drum. It was probably a picture of some MAGA hats and crowds of white kids surrounding this man and accompanied with a status like: "This is what the pro-life movement looks like." or "This is the what racism looks like... way to go Trump.
You may have been like me and felt a level of anger at the young man for being so foolish and disrespectful to a veteran and Native American. You may have commented as I did and said, "this foolishness doesn't represent the pro-life movement or Christianity" in response to all of the negative backlash plastered all over your Facebook newsfeed. With a short video clip, I thought I heard "build that wall" or something hateful, and I knew this needed to be condemned immediately.
I confess, I didn't do any further research than that. I made a judgment on this young man based on his skin color, his clothing, and political affiliation without giving him a chance to speak for himself. If I'm honest, I didn't give the situation more than a few minutes of thought because this stuff happens all the time in the days of president Trump.
At that time, nobody on my newsfeed shared the young man's perspective on the event.
On Sunday morning, I noticed that one of my Facebook friends shared another article with more footage and details about the case. He was back-tracking on his original sentiments regarding the situation, and I took some time to dive into the details. I honestly thought it was just a far-right website trying to disprove the realities of what actually occurred in the video.
In reality, the videos and further evidence disproved some of the "facts" I had just learned about on the previous day:
A Change Of Perspective
Needless to say, my opinion of the young man has changed. I am not taking a stance on whether he did anything right or wrong. That is not the point of this post, and I am still unsure of everything that went on. In good conscience, I can say that the media painted a picture of the scene that was extremely one-sided.
This is dangerous for many reasons, especially when a high school student and his family are receiving threats of murder and violence over a video, meme, and slanted social media post. More dangerous is the fact that it is sinful and can harden our hearts to the sinfulness of gossip, slander, malice, deceit, and dishonesty. God hates those sins.
Image Credit: OMKAR
A Biblical Path Forward
As a Christian, there is no excuse for slandering the boy in the video. If we don't know all of the facts, it is best that we pray for his soul as well as the veteran who was involved.
This situation has given me time to pause and really think about social media and its impacts on my life. Here are some practical thoughts that I'm going to be prayerfully applying to my life in light of this event:
Run To Jesus
In times like these, I feel the shame and embarrassment of being manipulated by the media. Worse, I have sinned against God and man through my sinful speech. I have become increasingly aware of the effect that social media is having on my life and the lives of the world around me.
There is hope for us, and that hope is found in Jesus. "In these last days, God has spoken to us through His Son" (Hebrews 1:2). If your life is anchored in the true words of the gospel, no matter how deceitful the media is, you have a firm foundation.
The truth is that Jesus came into the world to save sinners, including people like me who fall into gossip and slander. He made purification for sin, resurrected, and is now sitting enthroned in heaven at His Father's right hand. Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to show us the Word of God which is the truth.
Jesus' high priestly prayer includes these words: "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth" (John 17:17). If I spend more time with God is His true Word than I do in this world with their false words, I'll be sanctified. If I let the Word of God dwell in me and rule my thoughts, words, actions, and emotions, I'll become more like Christ minute-by-minute, day-by-day, hour-by-hour. As I behold the Son, I'm being transformed into His image.