Friday, February 27, 2015

Socially Unacceptable Conversations

Facebook is adding a “suicide prevention feature.” I do not find this harmful. An article discussing this quotes Holly Hetherington, Facebook content strategist:
Friends and family are concerned, but they’re worried about saying the wrong thing or somehow making it worse. Socially, mental illness and thoughts about suicide are just not something we talk about.
Facebook isn’t going to scan posts and locate those that appear to indicate suicide – that’s still left up to friends and family to notify Facebook, who will then send a message to the poster with suggestions of available help.

I found this interesting on a couple of levels – a very wide-open media acknowledges that there are some socially unacceptable conversations and offers to intercede to be of help. Family/friends could not approach the person because it is “not something we talk about.”

We can add politics and religion to the list of socially unacceptable conversations, can’t we? Why? Are these not some of the most life-altering aspects of our society? Why does our social structure decline to address these basics of social interaction? Because it might offend.

If you do a search on this blog for the word “offend”, you’ll find posts that include the word. It’s a good biblical word.

Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? (Matthew 15:12 KJV)

In the King James Version we find a form of the word in forty-seven different verses. Jesus used it many times. Once, that covers so much of today, He is quoted as saying:

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. (Matthew 24:10 KJV)

That is evident today. The word “hate” has become descriptive of anyone who disagrees. The offended person calls them “haters.” That has become one of the most used descriptors, “They hate me because I’m (insert whatever describes differences).”

Unfortunately, it has been used to describe Christians who are seeking to live by what the Bible says God desires. Even the use of Bible verses is offensive. Why? The Bible tells us that, too:

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts. (Proverbs 21:2 KJV)

Not all wisdom is light-hearted and joking. Study the introduction to Proverbs which includes:

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. (Proverbs 1:5-6 KJV)

Some of the “dark sayings” teach that we are not to look for “right” in our own eyes, but to seek God’s will. In all honesty, is that what is being done in our own lives? Are we less concerned than a software firm about another’s life?

I hear answers – of course we are concerned! We will help those in need! We will do . . . what? Consider what could be done for someone who is contemplating suicide. Then consider what is being done for those facing eternity without God – and we are not doing all we can to prevent that, are we? Why is it socially unacceptable to have this conversation? Can we talk about it with others?

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