I watched her from across the room. Her long brown hair half covered her face but I could still see the dark shadow of anxiety in her eyes. I know her too well. The way she furrows her brows and sucks in her bottom lip tells the story over her otherwise calm, 15 year old exterior. Head down, fingers scrolling across her phone.

“What’s up?” I throw casually across the room to her to see if she’ll bite.

“Nothing important. Just a bunch of people unfollowed me on Insta.”

“Ah.”

Nothing important.

Just the equivalent of a slap in the face delivered with the passive aggressive click of a button. What was the reason for the slight? Who knows? Maybe they didn’t like the combat boots and dress picture of herself she’d posted. Or maybe it was the <gasp> “I am pro-life” meme she chose to share.

I think the most revealing thing about social media is how it exposes the hearts of people. It allows humans to callously treat others in a way no one would dare to in person, delivered behind a smokescreen of social justice and political correctness.

Not just the teenagers either. We live in a time where friendships are as shallow as rain puddles and ideological, theological, or social disagreements are handled callously with “block”, “unfollow”, or “unfriend”.

Members of the media throw fuel on our fires and encourage tyranny and mob rule against anyone who disagrees politically.

Gone are the very principles, the very strength of what our country was built on. Freedom. Discourse. Logic. Empathy.

With just the click of a button.

We watched The Social Dilemma last night. Riveted, I listened as former CEO’s of Facebook, Instagram, and Google talked about this matrix that had been created and the danger it poses to us, our children, and to the very fiber of our democracy. All I could think of was the movie The Matrix from the late 90’s. The writers of that film were 20 years ahead of their time. That is where we are living.

“The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. A prison for your mind.” ~ Morpheus, The Matrix 1999

I know some are switching social media accounts for censorship and other reasons, but it’s more than that. Dig deeper. Entire thought patterns, emotions, and belief symptoms are being manipulated for financial gain on every major social media, news, and technology outlet. It’s not just your Facebook feed. It is an insidious plan to separate and isolate us from what makes us stronger. Each other.

As for me and my family, we have chosen to take the red pill that Morpheus offers to Neo in The Matrix.

Do you think I’m over-exaggerating? Go watch The Social Dilemma and judge for yourself. We were not created to have relationships through a screen. With the filter of technology between one another, there can never truly be empathy, connection, or true fellowship.

There is not one man or woman, leader, or president who can heal the division in our world. Only Jesus can change hearts. But we can chose to not allow our emotions and our minds to be sold to the highest bidder on Google and social media by unplugging. We can walk across our streets, knock on our neighbors doors and have real conversations where our own beliefs might be stretched to make room for empathy. We can shut down the echo chambers we’ve created and open our ears and hearts to the plight of those around us. Most importantly, we take back our relationships.

The question is, are we brave enough to do it?

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