Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)
If you spend any time on Twitter (or other social media outlets), you’ve probably seen the phrase “Don’t @ me.” It’s a message that accompanies somebody’s opinion requesting that the people reading the post would not feel compelled to respond to debate what was originally shared. The word “at” or “@” is in reference to Twitter’s use of the @ symbol as a heading for your Twitter handle. For example, I might say something like…
Dachshunds make the best pets ever. Don’t @ me!
I know this isn’t exactly a contentious statement, but for those of you who own a bulldog, a cat, a lizard or a chinchilla, you might be tempted to reply to me and set the record straight. Of course, it’s nothing more than an opinion on my part, but social media is designed to encourage others to share and when necessary debate. So, if a statement regarding a favorite pet can lead to a discussion, imagine what a strong comment on a more controversial topic might produce. In attempting to avoid an unwanted debate (or the list of countless people explaining why they disagree) people will disinvite others to respond.
On one side, I understand the point of this. Sometimes you just want to share what you think without opening yourself up to criticism or a lengthy discussion. However, by denying other people the opportunity to share their thoughts, it makes the person who posted it seem self-important or disinterested in what others might think.
We live in a world where many people want to be heard rather than hear; to speak and not to listen. Our social media driven society is fueled by the desire to tell others what we have to say, to show others what we’re doing, and to promote our own personal brand. This is who I am. This is what I do. Disagree? Don’t @ me!
Thankfully, this is not God’s approach to us. God welcomes us into His presence with open arms. He wants us to come to Him with our praises and our worries, our thoughts and our frustrations. He reveals Himself to us through His inerrant word – a concept that doesn’t sit well in a world that values individual truth and personal ethics. But even in the face of our world’s selfishness, God’s love has been vitally important to us. From the moment He created us, God’s love for us exceeded anything we have ever experienced. Our sinfulness drove a wedge between us, but in love God shows us the way back to Him. The blood Jesus shed on the cross paid the price of our sinfulness. God sent to us His Holy Spirit to bring us to and keep us rooted in our faith.
Maybe that’s why God had millions of followers long before Twitter!