Dear friends in Christ,
Most of the time, I’m grateful for social media. Facebook allows me to keep up with lots of people that I would otherwise lose touch with. Twitter is a fun way to have conversations with people I might not otherwise talk with. And Instagram is just fun…and fun to look at.
There’s a downside to social media too, of course. Some people suffer from the pressure to present themselves in a certain way. Others feel bad because it looks like everyone else has it all figured out. Social media can expose deep differences, and we don’t always use our opportunities to find deep connection. In other words, it’s fraught. When it comes to political or moral issues, it’s easy to degenerate into either a yelling chamber or an echo chamber. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
What if we used social media as a way to learn about those with whom we differ? What if we focused on forming connections? What if we proclaimed the Good News a bit more often?
Not too long ago, I had a conversation online about when to wade into difficult conversations or debates — and when to step away. It’s not always easy, is it? Sometimes it’s worth entering a conversation for learning from others or to educate others. But often enmity will be the only result of a comment.
Anyway, in this conversation, someone half-jokingly said we needed a prayer for this. For some reason, the serenity prayer popped into my head. It would have worked as is, but I made a few edits. I want to try to live this way myself, and you might find it helpful, too.
God, grant me the serenity
to scroll past pointless arguments,
the courage to weigh in on rare occasions,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one post at a time;
accepting social media as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that you will make all things right
if I surrender to your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with you forever in the next.
(Adapted with apologies from the well-known and life-changing serenity prayer.)
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