I am a self-acknowledged late-adopter of technology (although you will be glad to know that I recently updated from a flip phone to a slider phone). Generally speaking, however, I am thankful for the many opportunities afforded by social media, blogs and tweets. But I am concerned about some forms of online communication. We live in a whole culture of outrage. You only need to look at the bottom of an online news article to find a whole host of angry, toxic comments. These angry outbursts are often accompanied by a hashtag which allows other people to join the revolution.
There was a great deal of controversy last Christmas when Starbucks released their plain red holiday cups. There was no mention of Jesus and no traditional Christmas symbols. Some called for a boycott. One online campaign against the red cups stated, “Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus.”
This is concerning for a number of different reasons. First, people are way too easily offended. A red cup? Seriously? These things seem to say more about the bitterness of the person’s heart than any real injustice that needs to be corrected.
And comments are often uninformed and reflect a lack of decency and civility. Starbucks didn’t remove Jesus from their cups. The most traditional thing they ever had on their cups was a Christmas tree. And does everyone at Starbucks really hate Jesus? Even if you have to speak the truth, there is kind way to say it.
One columnist referred to these cries of outrage as “slacktivism.” People feel like they have done something by sounding off. But throwing rocks does not constitute a constructive activity. We would do well to take the advice of the apostle Paul and only speak those words (in person or in print) that would serve to build others up in a constructive way (Rom. 14:19).
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/starbucks-coffee-drink-caffeine-1048380/