I love stripes, which is an obvious and boring fun fact about yours truly, but I also love when a classic piece of clothing has a twist to it. For example, today’s mixed media striped shirt. It’s so easy to throw on with jeans and flats or booties to run errands or for casual Friday! Nothing groundbreaking here, but just a really tried and true look. Sometimes when life gets hectic, it’s nice to have something you know works.
I live a pretty regimented life. I like to have outfits like this one because I don’t have to think about it, which cuts down on my chances of getting off of my schedule. For being such a lover of consistency, I’m a bit of a news junkie, and the news is only about things that are unexpected. I’m a little nosy, which is probably part of it, but I also think the breaking news gives me a little taste of unexpected. But recently I’ve just felt more heaviness when experiencing the constant flow of information on Twitter, specifically.
Is it just me or is the internet crazy right now? I can’t even imagine a time before the 24-hour news cycle, which many say started with the OJ Simpson and Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan scandals of the 90s (1994, actually. My birth year.). I am willing to bet a lot of money we get bombarded with more news today than even 10 years ago. (Note: A lot of amazing journalists are breaking stories that are putting some bad people behind bars forever and exposing broken processes. We need strong journalism in the world!)
I think the power of everyone having a platform these days can be so draining. We are constantly playing keep-up. I find myself censoring my conversations with people based on what they, or others, put on social media. I don’t joke as much with people I don’t know well because I’m so afraid to offend. I don’t consider myself a person who makes jokes in poor taste, but I am definitely more aware of how anything I say can be taken out of context or how it can strike a chord in someone else.
The problem is my faith offends some. I’m not saying “poor little Christian” trying to fish for sympathy here. That’s just a fact. Not that it’s totally their fault–maybe they were hurt by the church or abused at the hands of a Christian. In that case, I can’t blame them for being offended that I associate myself with a group or person who has caused them pain. Christians, I hear you and I know you get offended, too. It goes both ways. However, note that I’m talking about the kind of offended we throw around on social media. Not the kind that truly shakes you to your core because of the ignorance.
Even when I write these blog posts I am afraid to offend. Back in the day, I literally didn’t care what you thought. I wrote a blog post about words I thought were more important to be called than a feminist. I’m talking zero cares. Now, I’m a little more careful because anyone can be ruined for saying anything nowadays. I wanted to dive into dating for quality earlier this week, but I couldn’t write something that wouldn’t offend someone. I stared at that screen for hours, only to produce a few measly words, when I wanted to write some thoughts on MY opinion.
When we get offended, we don’t want to try to understand the other person and their position. We go on the offensive and attack them for not agreeing with us. There is no cordial discussion based on genuine love for a fellow human where each party is trying to understand the other’s point of view. No, we grab our boxing gloves and hop on social media.
There are people who have committed horrendous crimes and they should be punished for it. People who treat sensitive and distressing topics disrespectfully should be educated. People with moral disagreements shouldn’t be punished for disagreeing … unless it turns into a horrendous crime. I think our society is getting dangerously close to policing morality in the court of public opinion. The problem is that in a free country, we can’t punish others for differing beliefs. As an American, that’s hypocritical. You can choose to live your beliefs, and I don’t think others should be punished because they disagree with you. I don’t think the law can decide whose beliefs are allowed and whose aren’t. Not in America, at least.
One of my favorite 30 for 30 documentaries touches on these ideas. It’s called Fantastic Lies, and it’s fantastic. I’ll link a clip here. You can also buy it on iTunes for a few dollars. A steal! Anyways, it looks at what happens when the public decides you’re guilty of a crime before you go to trial. It’s also extremely timely because the topics of sexual assault and mental health in the documentary are just as prevalent today as in 2006. In this case, three Duke lacrosse players were accused of sexually assaulting an exotic dancer that was hired for a lacrosse team party in 2006. I won’t give it away, but it’s an absolutely fantastic, heartbreaking, infuriating watch. My favorite part is about the DNA book the lawyer, Brad, bought on Amazon to understand the DNA lab results.
Anyways, the truth is that people want to be heard. They want to be right. They want to go viral. They want fame, notoriety, success. Often times they must say something so bizarre or offensive to do so. If it offends, you will be forced to issue an apology. I’m starting to get sick of apologies for things that are blown out of proportion as offensive–even if I would be on the other side of that apology. There are things that truly can offend someone to their very soul, but remember, I’m talking when we are offended and act on it just to make a point or because we want to be right.
Do I want people to know Christ and the freedom His salvation brings? Of course! Do I want to be a vessel to show others His love? Of course! Will I lead others to Christ complaining about what they believe, demanding they apologize to me for not living a life I approve of or being a hypocrite? Of course not!
Christians, we are called to love and we are told that we will be persecuted for our faith. Stop acting shocked that people want to ruin you for your beliefs. They could very well ruin me for these words right here, so don’t let me be surprised.
Christ has given us a wonderful example of living unapologetically. He loved God and us so much that He committed crimes, in the eyes of the religious elite and Roman government, that got Him put to death. He definitely offended others, but He was never offended–not even by prostitutes or tax collectors.
Every day we must make decisions about how we live our lives and how we interact with others. I have found you can’t go wrong when you treat others like Jesus would want them treated and would treat them himself. When you want to attack because you want to be right, remember that Jesus let them put Him to death instead of seeking personal satisfaction of being right. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing showing others the love of Christ?” and “Would I say or do this if Jesus himself were standing right here?”
Friends, I fully believe that God will use us for far more in the lives of others when we love them before we try to change them. We have got to get down in the trenches, where we will probably be offended, and serve our fellow man because it is what we signed up for as believers of a God who is far better than anything on this earth–even being right.
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Holly Hoehner has her bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.