[Brad] Have no fear, we are really social distancing as I’m based out of South Carolina and Jason is out of Kansas. That said, you probably can’t tell by the names of our podcasts, but we struggle a little bit with anger. And wouldn’t you know it, social media just happens to be the perfect breeding ground for anger and Angry Christians like us (and maybe you too?).
If you’re anything like us, and you scroll through Facebook or Twitter at any given point in the day, I’m sure you’ll find enough nonsense to trigger that angry Chrsitian inside of you, Combine today’s political and religious climate coupled with the wonderful COVID19 pandemic and everyone’s opinions on the matter, and you have a perfect recipe for an angry disaster!
Thus begins the fight to squash the anger before you let your fingers do the talking and get you into a lot of unnecessary trouble. (Take it from me…this NEVER ends well!!)
Recently, Jason has decided to take a hiatus from Social Media. Jason, tell us about that!
[Jason] Simply put, I was super angry and had zero self control when it came to refraining from making salty comments on posts and comments where I disagreed. Not only that, I was finding great pleasure in bashing people’s stances and beliefs when I thought they were wrong. I’ve always stayed on top of making sure my stances were known, but when my entire day was distracted by making sure I was checking to see if people were responding, I knew I was in trouble. I suppose it got to the point where I just felt done with feeling angry all day and I knew it was time to “get sober”. So I’m some days in, not even sure how long at this point, but I’ve not commented angrily at least today, and that’s progress. Now I need to allow the Lord to do the work in my heart that he’s wanting to do.
[Brad] Jason inspired me to take a brief hiatus myself, although mine only lasted for about 36 hours. But, it was enough to help me feel refreshed and get a good perspective on my own triggers and find some creative ways to help cull the anger before the anger draws me in.
We’re going to talk about some best practices, but understand, we are speaking these to ourselves just as much as we are speaking these to you. We are no masters, if we were, our podcasts wouldn’t exist and we wouldn’t be writing this article to remind ourselves of how NOT to act on social media.
That said, here we go!
Know your triggers
[Jason] You know what grinds your gears, don’t seek out instances where you’ll be triggered. It’s counter-productive. We all want to be right about what we think and believe, but being right and being a jerk is wrong, no matter how you twist. Don’t seek out the platform by doing what I did and joining groups and pages where I could get on my pedestal.
Remind yourself that you don’t have to respond
[Brad] Seriously, I know this is super hard for those of us with strong opinionated personalities (that’s me), but you really don’t have to respond to every silly little thing on Social Media. Sometimes, the best course of action is to keep scrolling past it and ignore it. I realize that sometimes this is easier said than done which is why it may be easier to…
Unfollow, Unfollow, Unfollow
[Jason] I purposely followed pages and joined groups where I knew I would want to get into it with people. I significantly reduced my salty comments by simply getting out of those groups and unfollowing those pages.
You may have added people as acquaintances or even as “friends” who think and believe differently than you ( that’s 100% the case, always ) but you’ve noticed you disagree on many different points. If you find yourself unable to see their posts without getting pissed off, just unfollow.
Remember who and what you represent
[Brad] As a Christian, you do not represent yourself to this world, you represent Jesus. When we allow our anger to take over in ungodly and unhealthy ways, we look less and less like Jesus to the world, and we lend more credence to their complaints that Christians just aren’t loving people or that we really don’t practice what we preach. 1 John 4:8 reminds us that God is love, and Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 what love looks like. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful. Love is not proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable. Love does not keep a record of being wronged. Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Know that the Lord is wanting to change your heart, and that simply removing yourself from the situation isn’t the final work.
[Jason] We can “get sober” long enough for the Lord to change our heart rather than getting off the group or out of the page where you’re having issues. An alcoholic has more work to do after getting out of the bar and putting down the bottle. Ultimately this is all a heart issue, not a social media or a people issue. YOU are the issue, and the Lord loves you no matter what. He’s wanting to help your heart where you have hate, anger, saltiness and pride.
Unfriend and/or Block People
[Brad] This is kind of a last resort option, in my opinion, because I always want to be one who fosters discussion even in light of disagreement. However, there are people out there who are not interested in that, and there really is no sense in filling up your newsfeed with other angry Christians who don’t care anything about keeping themselves in check, and will only serve to drag you down in the mire with them. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been “friends” with them for years, you may just have to let them go. Proverbs 22:24-25 says, “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
Establish a vision and purpose for your social media usage.
[Jason] It might sound silly, but seriously… Really think about the WHY behind you being on social media. You can choose which side of the double-edged sword social media will be for you. Are you using it to build up and encourage, to represent Christ well, to stay connected with friends and family? Or are you using it as an outlet for your anger and discontentment, and a place where you can make people look stupid so that you feel better about yourself?
Work toward becoming physically and emotionally healthy
[Brad] It’s true, our physical and emotional health are linked together. When you are feeling good physically it has a positive effect on your mental state. One thing I’ve been doing over the last 3 weeks that I’ve been working from home due to this whole COVID19 thing is daily walks with my family, and daily rides on my bike. I’ve also changed my eating habits and lost 5lbs with a target of losing another 10lbs.
Finally, and most importantly, post cute puppy pictures
Everyone loves puppies. When things get tense, post a cute puppy pic. OK, the real point here is, diffuse the situation rather than exacerbate it. Maybe it is a puppy picture, or maybe it’s simply excusing yourself from further discourse when you feel the temperature in your face starting to get warmer and turning off the notifications so you don’t get reeled back into the argument. But puppy pictures can be quite helpful too.
Resource mentioned in the show:
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