**WARNING** Independent opinion ahead. You don’t have to agree. It’s just a conglomeration of my thoughts, mostly unfiltered, and likely riddled with holes.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and that means that social media sites are filled with couples parading their love for the world to see, others soapboxing about the shallow commercialism of a “fake” holiday, and not much in between.
I think the story of Saint Valentine is rather romantic. I like hearts, especially the pink sparkly ones, and the idea of celebrating love in all its glory.
For Levi and I, Valentine’s Day has never been a day that we did anything extraordinary, and we usually just use it as an excuse for a nicer-than-usual date night. We don’t buy anything for one another, but we do reminisce about our first Valentine’s Day that wasn’t actually on Valentine’s Day. It’s not really a day that is much different than others for us.
So, I don’t have a problem with Valentine’s Day. It just is what it is.
What I do have a problem with are the attitudes of both above-mentioned extremes on Valentine’s Day.
First, the couples parading their love for the world to see. This is not wrong to do, but I think we need to be careful about how (and how much) we share our relationships on social media. It is far too easy to paint everything with a rosy brush, putting up our lives as the standard for others to follow (or to envy).
It’s one thing to check into a favorite local restaurant with a fun caption about celebrating Valentine’s Day. It’s another to gush about all the things we are doing for our significant other, or all the things they’re doing for us. Why do we feel the need to display these private expressions of love in such a public fashion? What motivation could possibly be behind it except to draw attention to ourselves on a holiday purportedly about love?
Granted, I think that attention-drawing motivation is not true of all posts, and would even go so far as to say that it’s not the motivation for most of these posts. My point is that it comes across that way more often than not, and can contribute to the online atmosphere of comparisonitis. It’s not really a word, but it’s a thing, and we all recognize it when we see it in ourselves.
As Christians, especially, oughtn’t we to live by “Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing?” Didn’t Jesus condemn the Pharisees for parading their virtuous actions for everyone to see? He tells us that commendation from men is our only reward when we display our righteous actions for others, rather than doing them “in secret,” for God and those closest to us. Granted, he was talking specifically about prayer and giving, but can’t the principle apply in a more general way?
I don’t know. I could be wrong, but I think it’s worth considering.
Then there are the others vilifying and soapboxing about the shallow commercialism of a “fake” holiday.
Sigh. I don’t even know where to start. In a nutshell, the utter vitriol and sarcasm pervading these “I HATE VALENTINE’S DAY/VALENTINE’S DAY IS STOOPID/VALENTINE’S DAY SUCKS/WHAT ABOUT ALL THE SINGLE PEOPLE?” drives me insane. It reminds me of the “BOYCOTT THE STORES WHO DON’T SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS” crowd. Is it really that important who celebrates Valentine’s Day?
How are these posts any different or better than the “look at how lovey we are” posts? Who does it benefit to angrily soapbox about something as trivial as a day on calendar? It may provide an outlet, and it is certainly within our rights to write such posts, but these kinds of posts are like empty calories. They taste sweet going down, but they add nothing to our health and leave us wanting more.
Again, as a Christian, what does this show to the world? We are to be known for our love for one another. What part of love involves shaking our digital fists at a holiday that means more to some than it does to others? And what about those whose wedding anniversaries are on Valentine’s Day? How are they supposed to take those posts? It can seem like a personal affront, even if it is just a general rant.
There has to be a better balance.
Ultimately, it’s a free country. We can post what we want. The reactions and feelings of other people are not our responsibility. That is not what I’m saying. Neither am I saying that all who share such posts are selfish, Phariseeical, jerk-face stupidheads. I’m saying we often post before we think, and goodness knows I am far more guilty than many others! This is just something that has been on my mind lately, so I decided to finally write about it. (And…ahem…it’s my blog. I’ll write what I want! Ha! Seriously questioning even sharing this…)
I just ask that we, especially Christians, consider carefully how our social media posts might impact our followers. Just think about it before you post it. And I promise, I’ll apply this to myself as well.
What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day? Do you celebrate it? Is it a big deal to you and your cutie pie? Or is it just another day?
Grace & Peace,