The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another. – Galatians 5:22-26
So here are some thoughts around the idea of “net neutrality.” Yes, I know nn is about access… but the Internet is also neutral in the same way that nuclear power is neutral, or drugs are neutral, or money. All these things can be used for good, or for bad, or anything on the helpful-not helpful continuum.
But the Internet cannot ever be actually neutral, because it is populated by human beings. Of course it’s true that the net does not own a natural inclination in one direction or another. But, unfortunately, the fact of “the human condition” (otherwise interpreted as sin, selfishness, or the sheer weight of “nimrods” on line) has caused an imbalance that is increasingly hard to put right.
In a way – and a powerful way at that – the Internet is making America angrier, and there’s dangerous momentum in that direction that – again – is anything but neutral.
Immaturity and “it’s all about me”:
It’s really the product of a kind of a “Lord of the Flies” mentality. The more that immature, self-centered, ego-driven, narcissistic content drives the conversation, the more the conversation turns toward the immature and the petulant.
Fact is, a fully functioning hand-held computer, connected to the world wide web, is more dangerous in the hands of many human beings than a hand grenade or a loaded automatic weapon.
People online without filters are more than “bless their heart” embarrassing, they do critical damage to relationships – and relationships define the way we live together. Listen again to the wise and prescient words in the first chapter of James : “Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.”
The Internet is making America angrier, and if we don’t make a concerted effort to interrupt the cycle then we will all be at each other’s throats in short order!
We can fix this!
Here’s what we can do. We can be the circuit breakers that stop the chain-reaction in its tracks. If every declared “follower of Jesus” took this simple pledge, then this deadly scourge would fail to spread. “I will always respond with care, with kindness, with understanding, and with Christ-like grace.”
It doesn’t matter if the other person just threatened to sue me because they don’t like the way I handled something, I will always respond with care, with kindness, with understanding, and with Christ-like grace.
It doesn’t matter if I know for a fact that they are too angry to be reasonable, I will always respond with care, with kindness, with understanding, and with Christ-like grace.
It doesn’t matter if I am innocent, or bullied, or misunderstood, or people have wronged me and they deserve my ire…. “I will always respond with care, with kindness, with understanding, and with Christ-like grace.”
It up to me how I respond. It is always my choice… your choice… to use what I like to call, “the vocabulary of grace.”
There’s a serious fire burning – it’s a conflagration – but we can turn the tide; we must.
Won’t you say it with me? “I will always respond with care, with kindness, with understanding, and with Christ-like grace.”
Peace, in every way – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.