Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why "Inspirational" Memes Make My Brain Hurt

Can we be frank here for a few? I’m really concerned about something that can be crazy-dangerous. Our brains are being infiltrated over and over again daily by some poisonous words, and I’m afraid we are going to end up extremely misinformed. 

Ahhh the power of words. “Word people” love them, but even the rest of the world can be sucked in by the lure of a well-constructed sentence. Especially when the catchphrase has a trace of truth in it, and is something we can relate to - it’s easy to buy into the rest. And the #1 place to find these singing sirens? Facebook.

No, not really, right? There are lots of posts we all scroll past everyday, without “liking” all of them. Political views, scary videos, fake photos. Tell me you have discernment while you’re scrolling. Promise me you don’t believe all the viral emails you get. Please don't buy into every cool visual with a statistic in it. 

I hope not. It is very easy for random, nameless FB identities (PeopleForPeople? Who the heck knows what they stand for?) to tweak truth and throw up some stats they got from generic-technical-sounding-database, so they can attempt to make a point - or get some traffic. Extreme brings in traffic, so there is little motivation to stick with reality, let alone common sense. (And then there’s all the misguided ideas FB suggests we about friendship, i.e. lack of boundaries. I’ll have to tackle that another day.)

Anyway, clearly I’m on my soap box, but my issue is much bigger than dumb political commentary or photoshopping pictures of celebrities.  In number there are probably even more “inspirational” memes that grace my newsfeed everyday, and I’m amazed at the number of them that are just outright wrong.  They disturb me.   

Take this one for example.

I suspect that people like this one because we are all fans of taking responsibility for your stuff.  Man-up and deal with your issues instead of whining about them! So people like the idea that once you decide to do that, God is ready to help you tackle your problems. 

But this is SOOOO WRONG.  “If ____ then ____” statements about what God does usually are messed up. Are you telling me that until I try to change my circumstances, God is just standing around waiting for me? That He is an idle God who watches from the sidelines? There are probably some good metaphors about God being a coach, but this is not one of them. 

The only one who can change you is God. HE is at work within you. HE is the power and the strength that leads you to do the right thing, to muster up the courage to accept the circumstances you are in. HE is the one DOING.

In Genesis, God tells Abraham -
Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”  
He doesn’t say, Once you figure out where you are supposed to go, THEN I will help you get there. He says GO, and I will lead you. Not to mention, God was the instigator of this conversation. It didn’t happen once Abraham decided to pay attention or asked God what he should do. This is our introduction to Abram in Genesis chapter 12.  He doesn’t even have the new big fancy name, yet!  

Here’s another one.

I already dedicated a blog post to this, because I was so struck by the message here.  Again, we are focusing on what WE are capable of, apart from God. But actually, the only good I can do is through Him.  It’s not about me and how great I am.  It’s about Him and how he uses me right alongside my faults and mistakes.  Don’t act like your behavior is ALWAYS so perfect.  It’s not. If you aren't convinced, read the blog post and let me know if you still disagree.

Here’s another.

Ok, so I can definitely see why this one gets a few “Amens.” Trying to align life with Scripture sounds like a good idea. But when I really try to apply this, I have no idea what she’s trying to say.  There is no gospel here. And not really any law either. 

What are your expectations? 
Are we talking about how people treat other people?
My to-do list?  
An expectation that I’m supposed to be happy?  Nowhere does it say that life is going to be easier as a believer, or that Jesus expects us to perform perfectly.  I can’t help but think of John 16:33:

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Look, I understand that it is always easy to twist and conform a statement, a verse, a mantra to whatever our baggage-laden brains want to hear.  Even the Bible has lots of misguided readers, no question.  But please arm yourself with discernment when scrolling through your newsfeed!

Discernment: the faculty of discerning; discrimination; acuteness of judgment and understanding. 
keen perception or judgment 

When I hit the Like button, that means more people are going to see it.  
That means more people are going to be thinking about this concept and possibly believing it and maybe setting themselves up for disappointment and confusion because they aren’t stopping to think about what’s true and worthy vs. what’s really just a reflection of us complaining about society.  

Arming yourself with discernment is worth the extra time. It protects you and it protects your friends. We need a Fact Checker for FB Feed! If you want this job, I'll give you lots of traffic. You'll be the most controversial thing out there!!

What's the craziest thing you've seen someone Like on FB?  

Do you have any tips for not ending up brainwashed? 

Am I the misguided one here?

Share in the comments!

No comments :

Post a Comment

Thanks for joining the conversation!