John Wesley & Social Media: Why It’s Important to be Kind to Yourself and Others

It often feels like in our day and age, it’s hard to live by these ideas; I see so much hurt, negativity and flat out terrible things being said and done on social media. Don’t get me wrong, I love using social media. But I often notice myself being regularly upset with something somebody posts or comments on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

It’s hard not to react. 

It can get to the point for me sometimes where I just have to exit whatever said app i’m using completely.

In pertinence with that, i’ve been reflecting on these three ideas:

  1. Do no harm
  2. Do good
  3. Stay in love with God

Those are John Wesley’s three general rules of living. If you aren’t familiar with John Wesley, he was an Anglican cleric and theologian who founded Methodism.

Even if it’s not what I want to hear, I think John Wesley had it right.

“Do no harm” doesn’t just apply to physically hurting others; this can apply to wanting to take revenge, being petty for the sake of being petty and “feeling better” about who has wronged us. This means not wishing harm on others as well.

But that’s not easy, is it?

The truth is, we’re all human and we’ve been guilty of wanting to do these said things or have done them already. Harming ourselves can also play to Wesley’s rules. Sometimes, it can be easy for us to come to no harm to others, but the person who we neglect the most is ourselves.

Doing good isn’t always easy either. For it is especially hard sometimes to see good. I tend to be a pessimistic kind of person, which isn’t helpful most of the time. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to see good from people or good on my social media feed. Doing good is easier said than done.

Last but not least, the third rule of Wesley’s, which is “stay in love with God”, is probably the hardest of the three, if we’re completely honest with ourselves. No, i’m not saying I, nor you, don’t love God, but we get off track from God so easily. I know I tend to treat God sometimes like i’m texting him; i’ll talk when I remember to, but usually I just forget to message him in the first place. It’s no wonder that I feel like I don’t hear from him sometimes; I don’t come to him in the first place. 

How does this all apply to online presence?

If our hearts and mind our in the right place and we follow these steps, we can be the best people we’re intended to be, online and offline.

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”     – John Wesley

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