When I was young and I tore my jeans, mom would sew a patch on them. It did not matter where the tear or worn out section of denim appeared (e.g. the crotch, the knees, or the pocket), you patched what was torn or worn. At some point the patch would usually give way to the tear. That was in the 70s.
Fast forward to the 80s. Torn jeans became a fashion trend. You no longer patched torn jeans … you strategically tore them to increase their value. And when you did not have the time or the skills to do this, you purchased torn jeans at an inflated price sometimes 4-5 times what you would pay for untorn jeans.
Patches were no longer valued. Torn became highly valued.
It happened with jeans in the 80’s and it’s happened on social media today. Torn has become valuable. Across the religious and political landscape, people are tearing one another apart with social media posts. Racism, homosexuality, and even Caitlyn Jenner have become fabric we attempt to tear.
Liberal and conservative parties and religious denominations are tearing at one another with a sense of unprecedented arrogance and authority. The rule of thumb is, “If you have an opinion, share it.” I would argue that just because you have an opinion does not mean you should share it especially if it is MEAN!
Jesus has an opinion on tears and patches.
Mark 2:21-22 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”
What will it take for Jesus to pour new wine into us? Maybe it’s time we discard the idea that just because I have something to say it’s ok if I say it even if I tear someone down by saying it.
I am not suggesting that we merely accept one another’s opinions. I think the term acceptance has become so watered down it simply means I have to agree with you. Acceptance is willing to be kind and hear someone even when our beliefs and opinions do not align. When differing opinions come together they shape and sharpen our own thoughts. What I am suggesting is that we see the person we disagree with how God sees them. As a sinner redeemed by God’s grace, as someone Jesus was willing to die for.
I am wondering if it is time for something new on social media. Time for a return to kindness. A patch that never has or never will go out of style. Maybe it’s time we all repent (including myself) for our arrogance defending our position and tearing someone down. And instead risk engaging that person with kindness. Is it possible that the very person we tear down is the very person God has placed in our path to patch us up. And maybe if we adopt this new social media communication patch, Jesus will pour new ideas, new mercies, new hope, and new peace into our lives.