Our world spins on changing trends.
A trend: a general tendency or course of events, current style, the general direction of something. A season: a time characterized by a particular circumstance or feature. Trends and seasons sound synonymous to some extent, mirroring each others characteristics.
So as we go through the changing trends and seasons of life here on the blog, Tuesdays have been dubbed #TrendingTuesday, focusing on trends in society.
The internet and its byproducts, especially social media, have exploded the spread and effect of trends in our world. My mom tells me I should watch the news so I know what is going on in the world (because I’ll admit, I don’t have a wide knowledge of world news and as a Christian I do believe it is important to be relevant in our world. If we don’t know the issues, how can we take a stand on them?). But most of the time I follow Facebook, Google, and Twitter for news coverage.
So join me today, and for Tuesdays to come, as some of the trending hashtags take center stage.
(Photo cred: thebarnabascenter.org)
This hash tag has its roots on Twitter, a campaign which took off recently with the purpose of blowing up the Twitter world with encouragement. The internet (namely social media) constantly gets a bad rap for being a place of bullying, malice, competition, complaining, and negativity. And studies have shown that the façade social media puts on has caused deeper depression in our world. But, this hash tag gave the world a glimpse of the positive ways social media can be used.
Of course, the encouragement given by varying users was as different as snowflakes. The spectrum ranged from inspirational to simply for laughs.
“Help each other heal.”
“Never fear starting over.”
“This too shall pass.”
“It will be okay.”
“God’s love never fails.”
“Jesus died for you.”
“Be weird; be awesome.”
“Today is the day.”
“You’re not dead yet.”
“You’re not Justin Bieber.”
“Do it for pizza.”
“No more dress tweets.”
As I read through multiple tweets, I was overjoyed with all the encouragement! But at the same time, I realized there is a danger in encouragement.A lot of times we encourage each other with nice sayings that are not always true.
“Happiness is the key.” “You deserve something great.” “Listen to your heart.” These are a few examples of encouragement gone wrong. Happiness is not key, because happiness is based on our circumstances. We don’t deserve anything, we are blessed by grace to have anything. And our hearts are sinful and can lead us astray.
So as much as I am an advocate for encouragement, we must proceed with caution when we encourage others. We must make sure we are not just rattling off fluffy sayings, but that our tongues are seasoned with truth filled exhortation.
False encouragement is dangerous, even more destructive than no encouragement. Words intended for encouragement can be twisted, a masked lie. When the “encouragement” is taken to heart, when the lie is believed, it results in the building of a false mindset, hard to break. The false mindset becomes the functional reality, the thing walked in and lived out, no longer walking in truth but dangerous deception.
We become false prophets.
The most encouraging words are truthful, even when the truth is a hard truth that hurts, but in the end will heal. Encouragement can come in the form of Godly discouragement, seeing our need for and leading us to Jesus.
And where can we find the most encouraging words? In God’s Word, the Bible.
So world, I applaud you for encouraging one another! And I pray you continue to do so. Yet even more, I pray that as we seek to encourage others, we will lean on God’s help to discern how to do so truthfully. Lord, sift us, until only truth remains. Father, if any of my words written here today do not line up with Your truth, please shield them from sinking into any hearts.
If I still tweeted, today my tweet would read:
Keep encouraging with truth. #EncourageEveryoneIn4Words
What about yours?