Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I’m smarter than you are. Well, maybe not: Throwing down online

As I’ve waded into social media, I’ve noticed that everyone likes to show off what they know.

Me too!

Sometimes it feels like people are strutting their head-stuff, putting out information that kind of says, “Hey, I know something you don’t know!” Or, “What I know is better than what you know.”

While this is a little easier to spot online, it goes on all around us every day.

We all get caught up in trying to show off to and one-up others with what we know, from the books we read to the type of music we like, the brands of clothing we wear, or the “sophistication” of what we eat, drink, and drive.

All of this can be a subtle way of saying, “I’m better or smarter than you.”

Different isn't necessarily better

The reality is that, in most cases, no one is radically smarter than another, but merely differently knowledged.

Just because I happen to know about an obscure musical artist or like poetry, and you don’t, does not make me better or smarter than you. Or vice versa. Because you probably know about a different obscure musical artist and like steak tartare, and I don’t.

We’re just differently knowledged and differently experienced.

Differences are to be valued

Those who are truly smart appreciate and value these differences, recognizing them as opportunities to share and learn.

This is what I see as the true value of social media.

When those using it possess the proper attitude, social media can unite, educate, and strengthen.

When it’s misused, it exposes who the punks are.

Sobering up

When I’m tempted to get punkish online or put on airs, the Holy Spirit pushes this passage into my awareness:
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you:
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. 
If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:1-8, NIV, emphasis mine).
Sober’s a good word to keep in mind to help keep ourselves in line.

When we are sober-minded, whether online or in the real world, the grace we’ve been blessed with will come through as we teach, serve, encourage, give, lead, govern, and generously show mercy.

What do you think? How do you handle yourself online? In person? Please share your comments below!

 This post brought to you by the letter "H" and the word "Haughty." Watch the video to see God's ultimate question...

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