I have been sick the last couple of days, so I have probably been on Facebook a little more than normal and I have a confession. I don’t like it when people who have hurt me put happy smiling pictures on social media. When they fill my timeline with happy times, it’s like I swallow a giant gulp of bitterness with each picture and post. I’m not proud to admit this, but I also don’t think I’m the only one. When an ex-spouse or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend is posting Facebook pictures of their new love interest; or when the bully in school has pictures on Instagram surrounded by the cool kids; or when a lazy, coworker brags on Twitter of his/her job promotion; or (for pastor types) when former members who loudly, stormed off post pictures of their new church family—it hurts and we want to shout into our phones or computer screens, “It’s not fair! They shouldn’t be so happy!”
Those people who have hurt us in many ways have moved on with their lives and may never think of how they have hurt us. In some cases, the knife in our back was placed there years ago. These people have families and friends, so of course they will post smiling pictures of happy times. Still there seems to be a part of me that wants them to be perpetually unhappy. I know this is petty of me to feel rotten when a nemesis posts happy pictures, but I’m just being honest. I’m also in good company, David was brutally honest in the Psalms regarding his foes:
“Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.” (Psalm 3:7). Yeah David! God should smack them upside their heads. Or…
In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.(Psalm 143:12). My thoughts exactly David! God should shut them up or at least make them stop posting happy pictures on Facebook.
While I can relate with David’s emotions, I don’t want to stay in the cave with him. I’m not sure what good comes of me dreaming of a holy beat down that the Lord might dish out. Do I really want God to go all Sodom-and-Gomorrah on them? No.
The Holy Spirit reminds me of Jesus words in my times of bitterness and jealousy: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:43). I want to shout at my Bible or to God, “Impossible! I can’t do it. Maybe I could pray, “Lord, send the fleas of a thousand camels to infest their armpits,” but I can’t pray nice prayers for them every time I see a smiling picture on Instagram. To which Jesus responds, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”(Matthew 19:26). Deep down, I know the Holy Spirit is right.
Social media has added to our society’s discontentment which, in turn, adds to our angst and ever-increasing gloom. In many ways, instead of connecting us, social media has further divided us. Here’s what I am trying to learn when I see the smiling pictures from people who have hurt me:
1) The person posting (just like me) has good and bad times. (Like me, they just don’t post to social media all of their bad news)
2) Jesus died for them (just like me).
3) Jesus loves them (just like me).
3) Even if they never acknowledge the pain they’ve caused, I need to look to Jesus who forgives all (even them and even me).
4) Bitterness, envy and jealousy are joy killers. I refuse to be controlled by them
5). I can’t let his/her attitude control my altitude. Instead, with the Lord’s help, I can rise up and get over the pain! And finally, four sentences in eight words
6): Relax. Be faithful. Trust God. Let it go. Easier said than done? Most definitely. But life is too short to allow someone’s social media posting to determine your happiness and contentment.