Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Viral Videos and a Reasoned Response

There is a current video going viral whose stated purpose is to raise awareness of something that is horrific, yet the organization is advocating violence as a resolution. They are selling merchandise to "raise awareness" - but it's not clear how much of the money they make actually goes to help those who are being exploited. I personally don't advocate violence and murder (even of criminals) as a viable solution to crime, but some say it's better than nothing. I don't agree and I won't support someone who advocates violence to stop violence, no matter how persuasive their movies are.

As for an ongoing response to anything viral, I have a few recommendations:

1. Don't let your heart run away with your common sense. Be careful about "awareness" campaigns that appeal strongly to emotions and, on the surface, appear to be quoting facts, but don't offer much in documentation or alternate sources beyond their own statements.

2. Check facts before you share. If you can't check the facts, don't share. That's gossip, hearsay, and it's how all hoaxes are propagated.

3. Sensationalized situations often result in hysterical or knee-jerk reactions that are not well coordinated. The Bible instructs us that things are to be done "decently and in order". Go to organizations who have effective ministries established in the affected areas and ask their assistance or input to the situation. Top of the list are the International Justice Mission, Compassion International and World Vision.

4. Pray for the oppressed. Pray that God's justice will reign.

5. Don't be manipulated by other's opinions or fall prey to "false guilt" that leads you to do something or support something you haven't fully checked out. If they can't respect your need to do your homework before you jump on the bandwagon, then be very suspicious of their motives. Anyone that lays a guilt trip on you isn't a true friend.

5. If you feel that you want to support an organization because their cause and approach is something with which you agree and you have the financial resources to do so; then pray about it and consult wise advisors. If God gives you release to do it, then by all means, support them. That is an individual choice, and you must be discerning and determine God's will in the matter for yourself.

6. Don't get side tracked by rabbit trails down the path to every "worthy" cause in the world and instead, focus on what is in front of you to do right now. Does your kid need a hug? Does that stack of papers need to be filed? Dishes or clothes washed? Phone call made? Whatever you've been putting off, just DO it.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

Question: How do you tend to react to emotional appeals? What steps do you take before you give of your time or resources to a crisis response? (Answer by clicking on "Comments" below or link to your own post).

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