I don’t know anyone who actually sits quietly in a theater during the previews. Recently, as my friends and I were at a movie, we were talking about what we thought of the previewed movie. We spent some time making fun of the cheesy movie theatre rules videos. Then as the production logos started to come on the screen (still before the movie had started) the guy in front of us turned around and said, “You guys need to stop talking, the movie is on!!!” At that moment a million things ran through my head of what I should say back to him. I could tell him that his yelling at us was louder than us talking. I could have told him that he was incorrect, that the movie had not actually started yet. I could have kept on talking, or better yet changed our conversation to how ridiculous he was being. My favorite idea was to wait until the credits, and when he got up or started talking before they were over, to yell at him, “You guys need to stop talking, the movie is still on!!!” In the end I did none of the above, I decided just to keep my mouth shut and watch the movie.
It has become increasing more acceptable in today’s society to “fight back” when you disagree with someone or they are a jerk to you. If the person is a jerk, or we feel our position is right, society tells us that it is fine for us to strike back. Our anger is righteous and we are completely justified in whatever we say. If you are confused about what I am referring to, just do a quick social media search on Donald Trump, transgender people, police, or UNC basketball. You won’t have to search hard to find the back-and-forth hate.
It has become so common that some people make it their goal to set people off and we have given them the title of troll. Now I’ll admit that there are times that I am very tempted to troll people (and times that I do). I have become much better about not doing it, but during a Duke-UNC basketball game it is usually best for me to stay off of social media. There is just so much opportunity that it is almost impossible for me to not go there. Now that is an inconsequential example, but there are many times I am tempted to react to things that are more serious. I’ve had to learn to keep my mouth shut, and I’m still very much so in the learning process.
What has challenged me to change are the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:46-47 “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.” Never once have I changed someone’s mind by arguing with them or intentionally pushing their buttons to get a reaction. There have been many tweets and comments that I’ve deleted and apologized for. Those post never brought about anything good.
Jesus challenges us to be different. He commanded us to love those who don’t love us. Man that is tough. Like I said earlier, I really wanted to be a jerk back to the guy in the theater. If I had, most people would have told me he deserved it. But Jesus tells me he deserved to be loved. Today there are a lot worse things than some guys yelling at me to be quiet. Those people deserve love too. Sometimes love can be as simple as keeping my mouth shut. Sometimes it requires a lot more than that. The bottom line is that is what will set me apart as a Christian so I need to learn to do a better job.
until next time…