“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
"Selfish" Media Often, our society glorifies people who tout their own accomplishments. We can all see the increase in narcissism as a result. This has certainly increased with the advent of social media in the early 2000s. Can you imagine 30 years ago, someone going around stapling pictures of their families, vacation trips, and accomplishments on electric poles or at local parks? The idea would seem absurd, yet social media allows and encourages this, making it completely “normal” in our society. Full disclosure: I did this on the Strava fitness app after taking my family on a Thanksgiving bike ride and hike. Afterward, I thought, what am I doing? Especially after I have removed other social media from my life for the past few years. Who am I trying to impress? A Social Dilemma My cousin, a small business owner, lamented at a recent family gathering that his patients/customers want to see him and his family on social media to make connections. He wants to completely remove all social media from his life because it's a distraction for him from his true purpose as a follower of Christ, husband, and father, but he feels trapped. He questioned how it would affect his business by going against the culture. Yet we see examples in scripture of men and women who lived differently than the culture around them in service to God. I think of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abendigo, Timothy, Silus, Ruth, Priscilla, Aquilla, and many others. Removing social media from your life is counter-cultural. Be Counter Cultural Another thing that is certainly counter cultural in our society is displaying humility. Not showing the best parts of you and your family’s life via social media would be a step towards humility. One of the MD5 books we read is The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by the late Dr. Timothy Keller. Keller distinguishes between having a low view of oneself and being content with who we are in Christ, which allows us to focus on others. When we focus on others and take an interest in them, we do not feel the need to always share about ourselves. This is not to say that we do not need to disclose things to our family and friends. We need to let others know what is going on with us. Nevertheless, far too often, we want to talk about ourselves, our children, our spouses, our problems, our accomplishments, etc. It takes humility to focus on others rather than ourselves. Consider inviting a friend or family member to breakfast and ask them pointed questions that show a genuine interest in them. Refrain from talking about yourself unless they ask you questions. You may surprise yourself with what you learn about that person. You may discover how to pray for that person and challenge, encourage, or help them. Biblical Manhood In addition to focusing on others more than yourself, true Biblical manhood is having the humility to acknowledge when you have sinned and made a mistake. My parents modeled this (whether intentional or not) to me as a child. As a result, I must acknowledge when I have messed up with my children (more times than I would care to admit) and my wife. At a recent family gathering, I witnessed a conflict that would have easily been avoided had the man acknowledged he messed up and asked for forgiveness. Sinful pride prevented him from doing so. Ask God to help you acknowledge your own sin, ask for forgiveness, and focus on the needs of others. It is difficult in the short term but so freeing in the long term.
John Gore MD5 Facilitator