I know not to read the comments. I know that.
It’s something that I tell other people about social media – “Don’t read the comments!”
But, well I forgot for some reason. I don’t know why. When I came across a meme featuring Prime Minister Scott Morrison, put together by people bemoaning about how Australia gives $4 billion worth of foreign aid to other countries and not to our struggling farmers, I should have kept scrolling. But I didn’t. Rookie mistake.
The comments were different versions of “this is disgraceful, let’s look after our own first!” and of course “Charity begins at home!”, not to mention numerous comments on how awful all of our ‘corrupt’ politicians are.
As I read through these comments from people, whom I would consider ignorant and uneducated on the wider issues around foreign aid and global economics, I was stuck. I disagreed with everything that was being said and much was based on misinformation, which made me angry. I imagined that the type of people who are commenting would be those who are unwilling to change their opinion, or have an educated discussion, or any sort of discussion with anyone who disagreed with them without it turning into an argument with personal attacks and name-calling.
I found myself asking, if generosity is what I talk about and seek to live out, how can I be generous to these people? What does generosity look like in this situation?
I think it starts with self-reflection and asking some hard questions.
Am I willing to change my opinion?
Do I get argumentative with people who disagree with me?
How can I serve the discussion around issues where there is conflict?
The answer to the first two questions is ‘it depends’, which is a deeper conversation for another time.
The third question about how I can serve the discussion, the answer is to participate in it, which is what the next post will be about…