I began this year dreading another election year on social media. Last time around, I saw things reach such a pitch and pace that I couldn’t really hear much by the time November arrived. I have a few friends who have good, reasonable conversations on social media, but most of the talk seemed like furious yelling by the end of the election cycle.
This year, I wanted to compose some Commandments of Social Media to help me and perhaps others navigate this year.
But then, 2020 happened. And it has continued to happen. For the last six months. And now it’s half over.
Along the way, I have realized that many of my own struggles on social media translate into real-life contexts as well. I’ve seen myself be paralyzed by fear in these days. I’ve felt my brain go blank with the uncertainty of what to do or how to act. I have lashed out in anger at my family. I have given days over to “doomscrolling.” I have been prayerful on some days and prayerless on others.
As a result, my Social Media Commandments have morphed into some Resolutions for 2020, or perhaps better said, Resolutions for the Remainder of 2020 and the time beyond. Resolutions frequently weigh me down, when I take into account the work of God being slow and steady rather than instantaneous. However, my prayer is that these would be a steady guide to my thoughts when I drop into the spells of fear and confusion. They are intended kindly, to myself and to you. Remember that we have a great high priest who sympathizes with all our weaknesses (Hebrews 4).
- Resolved: to treat other human beings as image-bearers of God, regardless of their political affiliation or lack thereof.
- Resolved: to acknowledge that I probably don’t have all the information.
- Resolved: to remember that I am foremost a citizen of a kingdom and a servant of the King, not one of an earthly country or ruler.
- Resolved: to work for the good of my earthly country in the small ways I am able.
- Resolved: to represent the statements and actions of others truthfully.
- Resolved: to live my life in real time with three-dimensional people, and to speak in contexts that provide community and require accountability.
- Resolved: to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and quick to forgive.
- Resolved: to act from a place of wisdom, service, and love, rather than one of fear.
- Resolved: to remember that it is the Lord Almighty who makes kings, peoples, and nations rise and fall.
- Resolved: to believe and think about the good headlines (from verified sources) as much as I do the bad ones .
- Resolved: to begin the day meditating on eternal truths given for my good rather than temporal truths given in headlines created to drive web traffic and advertising revenue.
- Resolved: to refrain from passing and distributing on social media: gossip, uncharitable speculation, or insult.
- Resolved: to implement a “Year of Jubilee” policy. In Old Testament Israel, the Year of Jubilee came once in a generation, and it was when debts were forgiven. Forgotten birthdays? Not answering text messages? No worries. It’s 2020. No one has ever done a pandemic before.
- Resolved: to implement a “Year of Jubilee” policy going forward into years when there isn’t a pandemic.
- Resolved: to be a humble student of history and science, and therefore acknowledge that I am not one impervious to (a) bad research; (b) viruses and pandemics; (c) the political climate of the day and age; (d) my own biases.
- Resolved: to have proper expectations of authority, be it police, presidential, or scientific; to have the same expectations of myself in whatever capacity I bear authority.
- Resolved: to make good use of the “mute” or “unfollow” button if it helps me better love people in real life.
- Resolved: to press into truth, beauty, goodness — both eternal and temporal, both given for my good.
- Resolved: to read more books and fewer tweets, articles, headlines, and polls.
- Resolved: to allow hope to triumph over cynicism.