I’ve been thinking a lot about why people are jerks. I wrote a little something about it yesterday and you can read it here. In my pondering, and through discussions with people I respect I have come to some conclusions of where maybe some Jerk-itude (that’s the one I’m going with) comes from.
Seriously though, the internet is the biggest culprit, but it’s not the only one. Blogging (yes what I am doing right this moment), social media, how we receive news, all of it can do one hugely significant thing which causes Jerk-itude.
Dehumanizing Those We Don’t See Eye To Eye With
Think for a moment… If you were really honest with yourself… how often do you engage meaningfully with people you disagree with? How often do you dialogue with persons of a different race? What about people in a different generation? Country? Religion?
I hear a lot of “millennials do this and millennials do that” but I have a pretty good feeling that those casting blame spend little to no time engaging with actual millennials. So many Christians are quick to say “Muslims do this and Islam believes that” even though they have never once spoken to a Muslim in their entire life. I have heard far too many white people speak on issues of race even though they have never once asked an African American for their thoughts on the issue. The same goes for making wide sweeping assumptions of foreign countries or people groups.
It’s easy to do… Especially when so much of our human interaction is done from behind a keyboard.
It’s harder to be a jerk in person
Well, maybe for most of us.
Think about it though… It’s easy to talk about an issue, to vote on it, to have opinions that are never challenged face-to-face. When a person has never had to defend their worldview while looking someone in the eye who believes differently from them, it becomes easy to become entrenched in it.
Yesterday I shared a quote… “After all, the best critique of a wrong thing is the practice of something better.” and weirdly enough I think Jimmy Kimmell nails it in this video. Take a look and let me know what you think.
Ok, Santa is kind of a jerk… What a turn of events…
It also seems like nothing was accomplished right? I’m not so sure. How many raised their hands to say “deport her?” how many seemed conflicted? How many suddenly changed their tone?
The “defector” seemed to questions her perspective because “DACA” was now in human form sitting right in front of her. Politically she knew what she believed, she was able to dehumanize the issue and take a stance, but face-to-face was another story. After this engagement, I’m sure she may be questioning some of her opinions.
Even bad Santa relented and said, “Just deport everyone else, not her.” At face value, it may have seemed futile, but I think we can see evidence of what this whole “critiquing a wrong thing with something better” is getting at.
Have a Heart
Too often we dehumanize an issue… we decide to be jerks when our beliefs are challenged… We even trade jerkiness for more jerkiness. Too rarely we critique a wrong thing for something better. Now hear me, the wrong thing in this example is dehumanizing people and its critique is looking a person in the eyes to see how strong your dehumanizing convictions really are.
If all you heard from this is that I am a liberal who hates America then do me a favor… sit down and have a cup of coffee with me because obviously I’m not offering something better and I need to try harder. If you think liking/disliking DACA is what defines me, then let’s talk about how there is more to life that American Political Rhetoric.
Let me be clear… I will be labeled one thing above all else… and that is a Follower of Jesus…
Jesus trumps everything else and He was all about celebrating humanity, especially the humanity that those in power sought to dehumanize.
How would Jesus have reacted if he was there with Jimmy Kimmel? He would have talked, empathized, loved and cared for those present. We should do the same.
Until next time…