Scripture is clear on how to handle disputes between two believers, namely in the same manner as when one believer notices another believer messing up (or around). First you go to them privately, then if that doesn’t work have a chat with your church elders and, should that not solve the problem, only then make it a public matter. Pretty straightforward.
It gets a bit messier when the other person isn’t a believer. Paul admonishes us that if it is possible, and as far as it depends on us, live at peace with everyone; and we all know what Jesus said about loving your enemies and treating others as you yourself wish to be treated. In all these scenarios, the strong implication is to not make a public spectacle of differences. Keep cool and keep it private. Let “them” carry on publicly.
But what if someone makes it public?
Earlier this month, a teenage boy posted a video (not giving it a link, let alone an embed) in which he spent eleven plus minutes being… well, a teenage boy. A modern one, anyway. My life sucks; my mom doesn’t accept me because I’m gay; she abused me because of it; I’m so depressed. Enthralling from start to finish.
Watching something like this leads to two thoughts. First, if the kid is telling the truth he needs to get professional help so he can learn how to deal with his past. Second, if this is either an elaborate exaggeration of truth as a plea for attention or a complete fabrication, grow up. There are people with legitimate issues in need of real assistance. Pretending to be one, for whatever reason, is as immature as it gets.
Here’s the deal, though: I don’t know which of these scenarios is true, if either. Certainly I don’t know the kid, nor would I have been aware of him in any fashion unless someone else had publicly pointed out the video. More on that in a bit; back to the clip.
Regardless of which thought is accurate, or at least the most on target, the concept of placing a video on YouTube like this is anathema to me. Telling the world your innermost secrets, laying your scars bare for all to see… really? Fishing for sympathy is going to make it better? You need to learn how to deal with your life’s dark valleys. Find someone qualified and let them help you. Which, for the record, isn’t a high probability to take place in a YouTube comments thread. If you’re doing this to be cute, may I suggest you volunteer at the nearest abused women’s and/or children’s center for a few weeks to learn what actual abuse is all about. I’m thinking it’s a very safe bet you will no longer find it such a ripe field for mirth-making.
That all said, were I to actually address the kid, I’d drop him an email. No big public displays pro or con; no rushing to ridicule or offer retort to said ridicule. Nothing other than a simple, straightforward and private communication. Reason?
Regardless of whether someone does something, or anything, publicly if I believe the appropriate response is one on one, out of the public eye, that is the direction I will go. Far too often in the past I’ve made what should have been private exchanges a matter of public record. Inexcusable and unacceptable. Henceforth it’s on the q.t. for me. A policy which admittedly immediately eliminates a large amount of blogging fodder, but c’est la vie. Or la guerre.
Even as such a video, whether truthful or not, serves no genuine purpose what legitimate reason exists for highlighting such things? Sure, snark can be great fun. But what if the kid is telling the truth? The whole thing could well be a two ton truck of steer manure. If not, however, belittling it and its maker is irresponsible and equal in immaturity to the kid if he’s doing this for a laugh.
I have zero interest in investigating the video’s honesty. Doubtless there are others who will; I’ve got my own work to do. This duly noted, I am not seeing where in any fashion the video is worth linking to for the purpose of ridicule. There must be far more important subjects to write about than quite possible ersatz teenage angst. If not, the kid isn’t the only one with problems.
P.S. If we must have teenage angst, let it be eternal teenage angst as in the title of Veil of Ashes’ soon to be released CD: