Yesterday there was a spot on the news about death threats being made to Rebecca Black, the young woman with the viral music video, Friday. I was blissfully unaware of 13 year old Rebecca until recently. Her music video, mostly an engineered compilation of an annoying but maddeningly catchy song, has more detractors than admirers. I don't have a problem with folks in either camp, except of course the ones that have issued death threats and said hateful things to her because they don't like her music. I have huge issues with that sort of behavior and even bigger issues with the journalists who are trying to make behavior like this some sort of news worthy event. Why? Because most of the anonymous people who would say horrible things to a teenager like the horrified reactions they are getting. Especially when they are not being called out as the feckless cowards they really are.
Back in my day if you didn't like a song, you turned off the radio. If I don't like something on the television, radio or internet, I employ that principle to this day. It gives me a wondrous feeling of power. Poof! Be gone! But somehow things have changed. Somehow people have developed the mistaken idea that when they get on the internet they have the right to be entertained in a manner they appreciate. If not, they can post anonymous hateful responses. What the heck has happened to our ability to think?
I hear people say all the time that technology has surpassed our ability to cope with the consequences of all this instant communication and access. Uh... no... that's not the problem. Although it is just like us to try and blame something or someone else for our failings. Which is certainly not a new strategy since Adam tried to foist the blame on God and Eve by telling the Almighty, "It was that woman You gave me." The problem with the world wide web isn't a lack of legislation, protocols or regulations for it... it's the loose nuts at their keyboards. We need the former to be able to control the latter.
This generation is not the first generation to forget their place and responsibility in creation and to the Creator. Judges, the book I read today, tells us that the folks there were doing what was right in their own eyes-which caused them all manner of grief. That's been true for every unregenerate person after the fall. The sad part is the number of professing Christians who behave this way as well. Christians who seem to blindly accept the mores of their culture without questioning if they are ethical- or are in agreement with Scripture, are just as likely to post the most hateful things in comments and blogs as anyone else. Sometimes they use fewer expletives or insert the ubiquitous "no harm- no foul" smiley face. You know, the one that lets you say whatever you like and absolve yourself of responsibility for it by using the universal symbol for "just kidding." I am totally guilty of doing that. Let's get real. It is my sinful heart that causes me to say truly unkind things, not my computer's connection to the web. Sidebar: There is a huge difference between being unkind and disagreeing with or confronting someone for their words or behavior... although it is possible confront someone in an unkind manner.
When I was working in public safety one of the things I learned about working with people over the radio was that it was exponentially easier to detest someone you have never seen. I made it a point to get to see and spend time with those men and woman I didn't much care for and it always made it easier for me to cut them some slack. So sure, the anonymity of the web makes it easier for people to draw attention to the hateful, mean and ignorant jerks they are, but the internet is not causal. It is not evil. People are not more evil than they used to be....but they are more ignorant of their predilections for evil. Including professing Christians, I am sorry to say.
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Mark 9:50 "Salt is good,but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."