He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. ~Ephesians 2:14
Toward the end of 2012, things got pretty heated in the world of social media. It wasn’t the first time, and it surely will not be the last. I’d be lying if I said some of what I saw didn’t ruffle my feathers and make me want to fire off a snarky response or a back-handed missive that highlighted the virtues of the other point of view. Sometimes, the devil’s advocate in me wanted to jump into the fray, simply for the benefit of having stirred the pot. By some miracle, however, I held my peace.
Peace, I thought, was the better goal. And so, I “hid” updates from my Facebook timeline and I stayed away from Twitter, hoping to insulate myself from opinions and points-of-view that didn’t jibe with mine. It worked. Each day, when I logged on to social media, I was met with an array of updates and links that made me smile, and validated my opinion of the world. Before I knew it, and without considering the implications, I had surrounded myself with people who thought like me, spoke like me, lived like me, and looked like me.
Overnight, my world became extremely small — shrunk down to one small choir and the people who were preaching to it. Or, to use a biblical example, one small ear, or hand, or nose, without the rest of the body to make it matter.
I don’t want to live small like that, with everyone around me smiling and saying, “Yes” no matter what. I don’t want to create a mono-tone community, where I don’t ever get to stretch my thinking. Or my faith. Or my courage. I don’t want to go through life always sitting at the table, or going to the church, or living in the neighborhood where everyone’s story has been painted with the same-colored brush as mine.
Peace doesn’t take the easy way out. Finger-pointing and daring you to cross my line in the sand are easy ways for me to build a wall that was torn down long ago. What if my quest for online (and real-life) peace wasn’t at all what Jesus had in mind? What if peace is more about staying at the table — with people whose ideas are different from mine — long enough to find God, right in the middle of it all?