Pastor Matthew Peeples talks about how people in our society today in the new realities of communication are emboldened by anonymity. Because we cannot physically see the people we are talking to on social media and other platforms, we often tend to say things we wouldn’t otherwise do in a public setting, Peeples explains, and so we share things publicly that we would normally keep private.
We all know of situations or circumstances in which people perhaps “overshared” on social media which then led to some unintentional consequences or had unforeseen implications.
We in the Church need to be aware of this current tendency in communication. What is perhaps posted to church websites or Facebook pages may not be what our grandmothers would reveal, but that should never mean that we reject it or downplay it out of hand. We need to validate everything that is being shared and really listen to what is being said, even if it is not in a form we are accustomed to.
Even the early disciples said, “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
In some ways being emboldened by anonymity can help us to learn more about each other and can help us to see that perhaps we are not as unusual in our opinions as we may have thought we were.
We often think that being emboldened by anonymity means sharing negative things. But the flip side of being emboldened by anonymity is that it may inspire us to share more about the great good things about our faith life than we would otherwise be more reticent to reveal. Jesus said in Luke 12:3:
What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
He wants us to be emboldened when it comes to witnessing our faith, and the new avenues of communication give us that opportunity.
Let us follow the example of St. Paul in our approach to communicating in the new reality, who said,
I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me. —Romans 15:15
Be emboldened by God’s grace to be constant reminders of what is most important: our relationship with God.