This post/quote appeared on my facebook feed the other day and it blew my mind.
I've been more careful lately.....
I've kept my eyes peeled and my heart open to what I really am looking for when I look deeper into someone's story online.
Some people I have made friends with or at least have become friendly with over the time that I've been a blogger. And we have gained one another's unspoken trust to keep it that way. We support one another with encouraging comments, likes, favorites. We may not know or even remember why we are following each other, but we are there, not to abandon.
But others simply, and deeply inspire me in one way or another. So I pursue their story, whichever way they tell it, in pictures or words. Sometimes I follow more quietly. It may be more of a silent admiration because there is something about they way they do things... the way they write, edit, take photographs, encourage that I respect and honor.
And I want to learn from them. I decide "There is something I like about you" and in hopes to absorb what I deem as beautiful in that person.
After all, no idea is a new idea.
As a blogger, as an artist, as a writer we seek inspiration.
As a person, we seek motivation.
But at times, we seem to fall short. Our minds get cloudy. Our thoughts get dusty. Our energy sinks low. Our creative senses tend to dull. And we need a little help.
Secretly, we want someone to show us the way. To tell us how to get to the point they got to.
These days, we don't ask them how anymore. Instead we creep around on instagram feeds.
We stalk people's writing style on their blogs, their books, their twitter feeds.
We do a pinterest search. We watch them closely on facebook.
But let's talk about desire for a minute. That desire to have what someone else already has.
The desire to have great style or editing skills, the perfect blog post, the pinterest ready photo.
Or even the desire to have more followers than the next person.
Do we ever forfeit our integrity at times to gain status?
How do we leave a mark on someone's life without using cheap tricks to get us there?
I'm going to say this as discreetly as possible. My aim isn't to point fingers, but to get us to think about how we treat others if our online purpose is to inspire and encourage and show Christ to the people around us.
I've noticed christian organizations and/or bloggers that will comment and follow people, to me it seems for the sole purpose of getting a follow back...and then craftily go and unfollow soon after. One in particular that recently was following thousands on twitter, within days went down to following only 200, stood there for about a week, then jumped back up to following close to 700 suddenly.
The only reason I even noticed was because I was one of the people who they followed and then dropped a week after I followed them back. At first, I thought "Wow, this is cool. This organization is non-profit and is for a good cause and they followed me."They only followed 1000 people or so at that time, and I was one of them, so in support of them, I followed back.
Suddenly I noticed they dropped about 800 people, so I then was only about one of 200 people they followed. And just days later, I was dropped, but they were suddenly following 400 new people.
I know twitter can be finicky and will randomly follow and unfollow people at it's own discretion, which is annoying. But it was hundreds of people, so it was deliberate...
It's not the follow/unfollow I care about personally, particularly from someone I don't really know. But it's about being an honorable person, blogger or organization, while claiming the name of Jesus. It lacks virtue and principle.
As a christian, I feel I have to walk in a certain amount of integrity. Unless someone is really getting under my skin, being hateful or obviously unsupportive, I don't really have a good excuse to gain their trust simply to let them down in the long run. I don't wish to hurt or misuse anyone simply to get my name on everyone's follow list.
We have all gone through the "decluttering" process in our social media feeds at one point or another, but to me, if you followed someone at some point and they are still currently following you back, there is a level of trust there. You are supportive of one another. I won't abandon you, just to declutter.
If you have been in general supportive, then I see no reason to hurt you that way.
This goes even more so if we seem to have an understood mutual respect and friendliness towards one another over time.
And this certainly goes for people who follow, simply to gain your faith in them, then turn around and unfollow you almost immediately.
Let's have some integrity and ethics as people who are supposed to love people, who are supposed to be examples of the love of God.
Let's not gain the trust of those around us, just to build our ego or our list of worshippers. And let's not take away from someone their confidence when they have shown themselves friendly. And my goodness, let's certainly not pretend to follow someone's story, just so you can sneak in a follow back from them before you disown them.
It's one of the tackiest things I've seen a christian organization or blogger do and it made me stop and think, how do I want to treat the people who have relied on me?
Do I want to show respect & honor to what they do and their story?
Or do I simply want them to live in mine?
If we disrespect people, use them and throw away their trust...how is God ever able to use us to reach into their lives or gain their trust again?
It sounds silly. It's just a twitter follow, an instagram follow etc but this is the world we live in now and a deliberate unfollow to someone who trusts us can hurt the very people you are hoping to reach with the love of God. I don't want to be one of those people that follow along, just hoping to gain a new fan or else I abandon you. If I follow you, it's because I rely on you to inspire me. And if you follow me, I hope it's because I in some way inspire you.
How can I inspire & motivate & love those who I have abandoned? It's impossible.
Let's not let our big head or our pride cause our message of love to be tainted.
If what we do online is all about being a creative outlet for us, that's one thing.
I'm not saying to go and follow everyone who follows you,there is no way we can do it all and be everything to everyone. But if you've already gained someone's assurance by following them, then don't abruptly disreguard them one day. Don't pretend to be their supporter or encourager and leave them high and dry.
If we claim to love God, to love people and we want to encourage people online, to be there for people...then we should show integrity in all areas of our online lives.
Actually on and offline.
You can only have from someone what you respect and honor in their life...
If you respect the creativity of another, if you honor the wisdom of another...you can learn something wonderful. But if your motive is to gain fans or connections through that person, you are dishonoring them and in fact, dishonoring God and he can't use that.
Matthew 25:40 says ~"When you did it for the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me."
Let's keep our hearts pure before one another and before God.
Let's show honor to those who honor us.
This is a challenge for myself and for you to continue to walk in moral integrity as Christian bloggers, motivators, writers. People are watching and people are hurting. And if you have any amount influence on others, and if your true desire is to love on people, then be that person who builds people up, rather than tears at their self confidence even if you think you are doing it quietly.
Choose the people you follow wisely from this point on, choose the people that you truly do honor and respect and gain inspiration from, so that you don't end up hurting someone in the long run because you feel the need to declutter or defriend.
No one is beneath you, and they don't deserve to feel that way...