The Problem with the Media
Alright, let's admit it. I'm sure most of us have one social site we really love. You might not think that way at first, but think about how many times you check it, how many times you post, etc. Think about those news sites you check, or all those new movies and books and songs you watch and read and listen to. It's not bad to like any of these things - as long as you're using them for God's glory. There will be a post about that later in the week, but there's also some other things you need to know. For those of us who are on social media, go watch a lot of new movies and such or check the news, I'm sure we can all name something that upset us there.
On social media, maybe you got upset about a post or jealous. On the news, maybe you saw something that really ticked you off. Or watching that new movie or new song, maybe you didn't agree with the message, or you went along with the message, and it was a bad one. Maybe they just caused you to set unrealistic expectations for love or something else in this life. Then you were disappointed when those weren't met. This is all a part of the media. I can relate to all of those scenarios.
While it's definitely important to know how to use social media for God's glory, part of that is learning where the media has its flaws and not letting them get you down. So let's go over them, incorporating a story of my family going to the pumpkin farm the other day.
Scenario #1 - Social Media: Jealousy or an Upsetting Post to You
Just get real, we've all seen things on social media that make us jealous. Maybe it was that awesome squad picture or an awesome trip somebody just took. Whatever, the list is extensive. I'm not going to get into what you should and should not post right now - that will come later - I'm just going to acknowledge what you should do when you see these things.
Okay, so you're jealous. Even worse, maybe you're jealous of somebody's entire life and convinced they have it all. I mean, sure, there are probably some challenges, but they have the things they need to overcome them. Perhaps that's money or a picture perfect family. I just want to say - thinking somebody has a flawless or pretty close to flawless life is dangerous. That's not true, despite what you see or how convinced you are.
That's the thing. All you can make inferences with is what YOU SEE. Some people are VERY good at making sure their social media is the best of their life. Don't fall for Satan's lies. Everybody has trials, I try to be real when I do. It's not like I'm going to go out and say, Oh yeah, my parents are driving me insane (just kidding, I love you guys, buy me those basketball shoes please), or, My dog won't shut up, or, My brother is being an absolute brat. But you get the idea. Do not be jealous of people! Be happy for them in their vacations and such, and trust that God has an amazing plan for you. One that would blow social media up if you tried to post about it. I mean, God is pretty amazing. He hasn't let me down yet with His plan for me.
What should you do when you are jealous?
Be happy, even if you're not exactly feeling it. It's a good habit to get into. But I get it. Sometimes it really is like, gosh danggit, why didn't you take me to Punta Cana too?! So... Who cares about what I say, let's see what God says.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:7-8 The closer you get to God, the more you will trust in His AMAZING plan for you, and you will genuinely be happy for others while He fulfills theirs!
Scenario #2 - The News: Something That Ticked You Off or Wasn't Accurate
Ever seen something just dumb on the news that you know wasn't totally true? That happened to a situation with my parents once, people were trying to cover up the ugly truth, and those affected were like, Bull. Crap.
The news is kind of like social media. It's biased, and they'll show you what they want. What should you do when this occurs? Well, first of all, if they're covering things up, there's obviously a reason. They know how dirty the truth is, and they don't want to tell you because they know it's wrong. That's lying, and that's covering up sin. While there may not be a whole lot you can do in terms of having the true story come out, the people faking things will still be judged and held accountable by God. Let's see what He has to say about lying and covering up sin and just about doing justice for all in general.
The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful. Proverbs 12:22 NIV
A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies. Proverbs 14:5 NIV
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13
When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers. Proverbs 21:15 NIV
Turn from evil and do good, then you will dwell in the land forever. For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. Psalm 37:27-29 I love this one, it's so powerful!
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. Romans 12:19 NIV True, leave it to God, do not worry about those people being sinful. Trust me, God will take care of them, and you will be rewarded.
Scenario #3 - Hollywood and Messages of the World: Bad Ones and Unrealistic Expectations
Ever seen a movie that just had an awful message? For me, this would be PAPER TOWNS. Nothing against those who liked it, but for me, I thought that movie was awful. I felt like it was basically sending a message to live it up while you can [that only has partial truth, we must obey God, not this partying and pranking Hollywood crap like the movie displayed], to use people [that is what the girl did, and the boy was dumb enough to fall for it], annnnnd yeah. It was pretty awful.
Don't listen to that. Live it up while you can? Sure, go get drunk, move across the country, whatever. It's your one life, do as you please. NOT! God gave us rules for dang reasons! My life isn't too bad, and I follow those! By listening to God, you're establishing a good life. Live it up while obeying Him and following His word, and you'll have it made. God wants us to make the most of our time here, but we have to obey Him.
Also, it's very easy in sappy romance movies or beast mode action movies (the list goes on) to set unrealistic expectations for yourself. It could be Hollywood's idea of the perfect, charming hot guy. It could be the physical, heroic main character in the new action movie. The list goes on. Don't go by these things, go by God's and what He says is true. Don't compare your life to those movies. Those movies are meant for entertainment and money, not to help you in your life. God will never say to have high expectations and then not follow through with them. Here are some verses to prove it.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 ESV
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 ESV
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 ESV
My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. Psalm 62:5 KJV