Tears to Joy

Tears to Joy: February 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Beware of Secret App

Last week I was surprised by all the hoopla regarding a new app called Secret.  Students are able to post thoughts and ideas on the app anonymously.  The creators describe the positives that can happen from the anonymity, such as being able to reveal embezzling to a boss without being deemed a snitch.  However, the opposite is also true.  Slander and cyberbullying has hit a new high.  People are name-calling and bashing others without fear of repercussions because no one knows who posted it.  Not only are the words appalling, but many are posting pictures and images that are equally grotesque all under the cloak of secrecy.

What is it within us that causes us long for anonymity?  I’ve pondered this since I learned about the new site, and I’m taken back to the beginning.  Way back to the beginning.   In the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve first ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they immediately hid behind fig leaves.  They knew their actions were wrong, and yet they hid in shame.  Ever since we have lied and cheated to hide our true selves.  If others knew how we really felt, we would all suffer lives of solitude.  However, Christ died to save us from our sinful selves and to make us new.  Sadly, many are living this new life in an old dump – a place where sin abounds with the promise of no consequences.  The saying, “Your sins will find you out,” is true.  You may be able to deceive for a little while but one day the truth will be revealed.

Insecurity, bitterness, and revenge all serve as motivating factors for demeaning someone else online, but what is it that draws others to visit the site not so that they can add to the slander, but so that they can read it.  Is this a modernized form of gossip?  Have we stooped so low that seeing our family and friends demoralized is now entertainment?

Parents, be wary of letting your children correspond on the new app.  I fear that the bullying on this site will lead to great destruction – damaged reputations, broken relationships, and perhaps even suicide.

There is freedom in the light.  Don’t be deceived by the darkness.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

If Perfect Love Casts Out Fear Then ...

Have you ever seen the movie, Tangled?  It’s a modern-telling of the fairytale, Rapunzel.  This movie is a favorite in my house, and recently it has helped to teach me an important lesson.  In the movie, the mother hides her beautiful daughter away in a tower in an effort to protect her from harm; in doing so, the mother has prevented her child from life.  The young girl has never experienced grassy fields, wind in her hair, or the bliss of picking your first flower.  Even more detrimental is that the girl has never known what it is like to have friends.  The mother’s fear prevented the daughter from experiencing any form of love. 

1 John 4:18 says,

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. “

I’d never really thought about it before, but if perfect love casts out fear, then the reverse is also true.  Fear casts out love.  In an attempt to protect ourselves from getting hurt, we wall up our hearts for fear of being disappointed, rejected, or abandoned.   While the walls may be effective to protect us from emotional hurts, they also prevent the potential for love. 

The counselor in me wonders what happened in young Rapunzel’s mother’s life to cause her to fear the outside world as she did.  I wonder if someone she loved rejected her, or perhaps someone she loved abandoned her, leaving her to fend for herself.

We all have past hurts that threaten to smother our current relationships.  I have experienced multiple losses in my lifetime, and sometimes I fear that the people I love will also go away; when this fear creeps in, I try to appear tough and self-sufficient -- sometimes to the point that I push others away.  While I know my fears are irrational, if I linger on them too long, they threaten to block out love.

So, what is the moral of all of this jargon?  Rapunzel found love once she decided to step out from behind the walls, and take a risk.  Yes, I know. Rapunzel met her prince, but some of us are hiding behind walls so thick that we block out any chance of friendship. 

Scripture tells us that God is love; this means the nearer we draw to the Father, the less power fear has over our lives.  While people will disappoint us, God loves us with an everlasting love, and he promises to never leave or forsake us.  In times when we find it difficult to trust others, we cling to our trust in God.  As we trust in him, he helps us to love others and begins to cast away our fears.

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