It was a rough three weeks at my house. From ear infections to runny noses, from croupy coughs to bronchitis, from low-grade fevers to aching bodies, we had it all. As a stay-at-home mom to a two-year-old, I don't have time to be sick, but when the toddler and I are under the weather at the same time. . .
Don't think for one minute that I suffered in silence. Why would I when there's an entire online world out there waiting to "Like," "Favorite," "Share," "Comment" on, and "Retweet" my misery? So, like any self-respecting social media addict, I grabbed my smart phone between nose wipings and thermometer readings and shared my sickness.
Misery Loves Company
It's a sad fact that far too many of us like to make our sufferings known. If we are experiencing pain, facing a trial/obstacle, or enduring injustice, the world would have us believe it’s our obligation to drag as many others as possible along with us. Because if there's one thing we hate (maybe even more than the suffering itself), it's the idea that we are alone.
Easter is a glorious time of celebration. Sin has been overcome. Death has been defeated. The victory is won. The God of the universe, who put on human skin and entered time and space in the form of Good News and Great Tidings on Christmas morning, completed His earthly mission; the empty tomb attests to that fact. Hallelujah!
But what about the not-so-pretty parts? What if social media had existed at the time of Jesus' betrayal, suffering, and crucifixion? And what if Jesus, like many of us, took to cyberspace to wallow in self-pity? What might that have looked like?
o Instagram – a selfie in the purple robe and crown of thorns while blood trickles down His face with the caption, "What did I do to deserve this?"
o Facebook – Status Update – “My best friends fell asleep on me when I needed them most. Another “friend” ratted me out to the cops for something I didn't even do. I was arrested and gang-beaten. Now I'm on death row. Could my life get any worse???”
o YouTube – Video upload of the cat o’ nine tails flogging, ending with a 30-second shot of Mary sobbing hysterically that she can't understand how anyone could get away with doing this to her innocent baby publicly.
o Twitter – @manupstairs, what kinda man sits back, watches this happen 2 his son? ppl wanna know why i am like i am #itsyourfault #letmedie
A Better Way
Jesus' experiences and photos are different from mine, but the sentiments expressed above sound shockingly familiar. Like, maybe I could have written them. Who among us has never felt like we were being abused unjustly, or that our respective lives were at rock bottom and couldn't get any worse, or that we had been falsely accused, tried, and convicted of something we didn't do, or that we were victims of our raising, or that our suffering was so great and so painful that we just wanted to die? I know I have. My guess is you have too.
The difference between me (and you) and Jesus: He really didn't deserve it, His life couldn't get any worse, and He was innocent, but he never blamed anyone for anything. If ever there was anyone in the history of human existence with the right to complain and assess blame for their misery, it was Jesus. But He didn't.
What Jesus did say:
· Matthew 26:42: "'My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away
unless I drink it, may your will be done.'"
· Mark 15:3-5: "The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked
him, 'Aren't you going to answer?. . .' But Jesus still made no
· Luke 23:34: "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they
· John 19:30: "Jesus said, 'It is finished.' With that, he bowed his head and gave up
I had a nagging cough, some body aches, bronchitis and a touch of pneumonia (all while being waited on hand and foot by my sweet husband) and I made sure everyone in my house, my contact list, and my social media network knew how bad I felt. Jesus endured the most horrific torture and death imaginable, bore the sin of all mankind, and experienced an incomprehensible loneliness as God turned away from Him, yet the closest we come to even a tiny glimpse of His physical, emotional and spiritual pain is in His final cry from the cross as death came for Him (Matthew 27:46) .
The world teaches us to whine, complain, pitch a fit, and throw a temper tantrum when pain and trials come our way. It's all about us. If we are miserable, so must everyone else be. Go down swinging and refuse to walk the way of suffering alone.
Jesus shows us a different way, a better way. He is living proof that there is purpose in pain (John 16:33). May our lives (and our social media) bear witness to this truth!
- What do your social media posts reflect about your relationship with God?
- Do they reflect the world as your primary influence?
- Or do they reflect someone who truly understands what it means to take up his/her cross and follow Jesus?