“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV
I attended a boarding school in two countries during my six years of secondary school education. The concept of ‘lights out’ was the same. In my first school, the night prayer was said, all the lights were put out and we went from lights on to lights out. I don’t recall the ritual in my second school, I suspect a bell rang or someone called out the words, ‘lights out’ and we all rushed to our beds and tried to fall asleep as the light actually went out. In both schools, I recall that the darkness that followed was a bit unsettling and most nights, I ensured that my eyes were shut so tight that I didn’t have to face the darkness. Maybe I was scared but I know it made me uncomfortable to be in such dark spaces.
The story of lights out in boarding school reminds me of the status updates that I see on social media platforms like Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok. It feels like the lights are out in those spaces and even professing mini-Christs have forgotten how to behave in those spaces. What exactly do I mean? I personally have limited visibility in those spaces, my reason is simple – if ever I feel the need to put up a post, I ask myself this question to test my motive – why do you want to share this information? I am usually never satisfied with my response and so I don’t share. Last year, my husband hit a major milestone, I wanted to put it up on my various platforms and then I asked myself why. None of the reasons I came up with passed the test, he was right beside me, and everyone who needed to know knows about it. So I drew close to him and poured out my heartfelt
wishes for him, we prayed and had a great day after that, all in the privacy of our immediate circle. Celebrations are understandable if the motive is not to outdo others, show off to others, or do it just because others are doing it. Think about the pressure that your lifestyle (real or enhanced) has on others and be wise with the information that you put out. Do your part and turn the lights on!
Let’s consider the jokes, stories, pictures, and videos that we share and reshare multiple times. Some of these contents would easily be rated R on TV or have a ‘viewers discretion’ disclaimer but thanks to social media we get to stream them non-stop on our status updates oblivious to the fact that our nephews, nieces, proteges, and everyone else who is old enough to own a phone and have our number has unfiltered access to our updates. We should not make ourselves conduits for corrupt content that has the ability to corrupt young minds. Do your part and turn the lights on!
I listened to a song written by an artist in response to a mean comment shared about her song. These words stood out, ‘would you say that to me in person?’ A lot of times, we type out comments or messages to people that we will never dare to say in person because when you think about it, there are usually inappropriate or disrespectful. Let your spoken and written words align, be mindful of the unintended interpretation that could be applied to the words that you write out. Let your words give life, no matter the format in which you communicate them. Do your part and turn the lights on!
I try my best most times to privately reach out to people when I sense that their content is not representative of who I have come to know them as. I have received mixed responses the times that I have done this, from thank you for having my back to the respectful backoff. Some days, I have felt overwhelmed by the frequency of inappropriate content that I come across. I draw strength from Peter’s letters to Christians where he explains that his repetitions were intentional reminders and an act of love. Today, I share this post broadly as an attempt to remind us of the days when we respected our privacy and that of others; when simple etiquettes were observed in communication; when certain jokes or images were accepted as inappropriate; when we were mindful of the younger ones around us and intentional about not corrupting their minds. Do your part and turn the lights on!
Our lights should never go out, no! not even on Social media. Let us light up so brightly in all the spaces that we find ourselves that men, women, boys, and girls will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. As we reflect on the true essence of the Easter season, let us commit to doing our part and turn the lights on!
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