Are you a Builder or a Demolition worker?
This past week, there were a couple of instances which caused me to think about my use of social media. The first came when a fellow employee of mine, who I am friends with on Facebook, posted about how she was shocked how a simple rather benign post she had made, very quickly evoked several very personal, vitriolic attacks.
The second was when I noticed some comments on a post from some friends and former co-workers, who were demeaning and joking about the place where I am still employed. It did shock me a bit. Now I don’t know all the personal reasons why they might have left employment there, but I was surprised that they talked about the place in a demeaning way. Certainly no place of employment will ever be perfect – it’s not a vacation – that’s why they call it “Work”. And I personally have left several previous jobs and moved on to other things for personal reasons, but I don’t remember feeling any animosity to the place I was leaving as it had provided me a means for support and interaction with so many other good people. And the place where I currently work is a beautiful facility which has blessed the lives of countless people in the area who have benefited from being able to come there and is filled with many employees who are all caring and kind to the clients we are servicing.
Then in my church meetings today, one of the topics of discussion was about our use of social media for purposes which are either good or bad, time wasting or of usefulness and so forth. As I sat listening and pondering, several questions and spiritual impressions came to my mind which were not part of the actual sermon.
“Are you a builder or a demolition worker?”
“Are you trying to raise yourself higher by tearing others down around you? Or are you building stairs upon which you and others can ascend together?”
“Are you tearing down walls and removing roofs to try and expose something you think is hidden inside? Or are you constructing places of shelter and safety for others to come into from the storms of life?”
Are you a wrecking ball, which in a moment can destroy something or someone, perhaps irreparably, affecting far more than those to whom your comment was aimed?
Or are you a supporting bolster to those who are wavering and need a firm foundation upon which they can regain their footing?”
These impressions and questions from the Spirit made me pause to think more deeply about my use of social media, which although it feels distant through the technology, is actually far more connected to the lives of others than we might realize.
I will now offer a sincere apology to anyone and everyone who I may have offended over the years in any attempt to be humorous or funny! If I have ever said or done anything to hurt you than I am sorry and in need of and striving for repentance in these things! And certainly, I am sure there is far more work I need to do in my life to improve.
As these impressions came through my mind and I grabbed a piece of paper to write them down, some scriptures also came to my mind.
“…Succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” – D&C 81:5.
The thought then came to me that as we demean or belittle others or attempt to pass judgement upon them, that we are really only exposing our own flawed character traits. This thought then brought to mind another verse of scripture, in which in vision the prophet saw a great a spacious building, which stood up in the air and had no foundation, which represented “the vain imaginations and pride of the children of men,” and “it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female… and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards…” others who were simply trying the best they could to do what was right. (see 1 Nephi 8:27).
As I pondered these impressions, I asked myself, “If finding fault in others only exposes the imperfections, gaps and flaws in my own life, then how can I fill those gaps to become better?”
The quick but gentle reply which came in the reminder of some other verses of scripture found in Moroni 7: 45-48, “And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail— But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.”
I felt prompted to share these thoughts today, as both a possible means to ask forgiveness if there are any I have ever offended, and perhaps to help all of us consider what role we are playing through social media. And to think about how we can improve and fill the judgmental gaps and holes in our own lives, not by making others faults bigger, but through filling them with His love and helping others to do the same.
I am sure we all have a bit of work to do in this department from time to time.