When broken-heartedness and social media collide

I don’t know when I first heard it expressed this way, but that prayer asking God to break my heart with what breaks His heart certainly contributed to a life-long journey toward being more like Christ, more compassionate. Tender-heartedness is good and godly.

And then the internet.

And then social media.


Today, in the span of about 20 minutes, I heard stories and saw full-color images of dozens and dozens of things that are heartbreaking. They ranged from a pregnant woman condemned to hang because of her faith to beagles kept in cages for nine years before they ever saw sunshine or had the joy of peeing on grass, from the ridiculous arrogance and power being badly used by a national leader invading a neighboring nation and calling it justice to children pushed further into shells of uncertainty because of peer bullies.

My tender heart can’t take it, and I keep catching myself letting the toughness grow back over the places that were softened.

So here is my question for myself and those who might have wisdom to share: How do we balance staying informed and involved with our own capacity to endure the constant pounding on our hearts and minds?  I don’t want to exist so close to the edge that I have nothing to offer when tragedy or injustice strikes close to home because I’ve been ranting and posting and liking from a distance where my outrage only fuels a virtual fire.

And yes, one of my possible solutions will be to shut it down in some way.

I’d love to hear what you’re doing around this. We all have our own context and capacity to steward, so there is not likely a one-size-fits-all. And while you can feel free to share links to what others say on the topic in their blogs and books, I’m more interested in what you are doing and have found helpful than what some (self-proclaimed) expert things I should do.


One thought on “When broken-heartedness and social media collide

  1. Lois Thorpe says:

    Well, this is one of the reasons I don’t watch the news. I don’t watch the videos about these issues in my fb feed. Maybe that makes me less informed or aware, but I know that my heart is hardened when I see things like this. I do listen to 5 minute world news updates on NPR and BBC. I do stop and read about the situations in places where I know people (ok, that gets harder as I know people in so many places). Mostly I try to stay engaged where I am and pray that I would be able to show mercy to those in my everyday life.

    I have thought about this quite a bit as I have been engrossed in the news about Ukraine the last 6 months. One of the things that has struck me in the midst of the current crisis in Ukraine is that these kinds of things are going on all over the world and I am usually only vaguely aware of them. Yet I could spend all day every day immersed in news and never keep up. I don’t want just a cursory awareness of the world, but I can’t possibly be up to date with everything. Nor am I quite sure that we were made to be… I have to live fully where I am and engage with the people in my life. So if my missionary friends have had to flee South Sudan, that is a situation I want to be aware of. Syria, I should probably more know about that, but I am not and neither do I feel guilty about it. There are elections soon in Togo where other friends live, I will try to pay some attention to that this summer. I will pray for these people and for God to be glorified. But I can’t watch every sad story. I’m not sure that God has called me to that.

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