What does the internet and the KKK have in common?
You can put on a mask, be who you really want to be, and no one will know who’s abusing them.
Think about it. The Ku Klux Klan are known for putting on white masks and robes in order to terrorize, abuse, and even kill people who were different than them. They would put on a mask, and no one would know who they really were. At the end of a cross burning, they would take off their racist masks and go home to their families who were none the wiser. You could say that it’s when they’re among non-Klansmen that their real masks go on.
They act like loving, accepting, and often Christian people, but when the night comes, and there’s African Americans around, the real them comes out. And because their faces are hidden, they can do whatever they want without consequences. They’re safe from vengeance, retribution, and returned hatred. They can abuse and kill with a “clean” conscience.
How about the internet? Do we let our “secret selves” out when we’re surfing or talking to people on the web?
On the internet, you can put on your “mask” of a screen name and avatar, and be whoever you want to be. If you want to be a 15-year-old girl from Wisconsin, you can do that. If you want to be a 46-year-old “divorcee” looking for a good time, you can do that. If you want to be a smug know it all, you can do that. If you want to be the real you, you can do that as well, but a lot of people don’t.
I know I’ve hidden behind a screen name before, because I could get away with it. The internet allows us to do and say things we wouldn’t normally do or say in the real world because we have a mask on. We can abuse, slander, and troll whoever doesn’t agree with us. Why? Because we’re safe from vengeance, retribution, and returned hatred in real life. We can log off and continue to be the “real us” whenever we want.
On the internet you can say the most God-awful hurtful things to people, slander their names or likes just because they don’t agree with you or because you had a bad day.
Is who we really are masked by who we appear to be? Or are we the same everywhere? Do we act with the same Christian morals and values on the internet just like we do in the real world? Remember, we can’t hide from God. He’s omniscient, He knows everything, even our hearts.
I think being people of a second chance means that we need to be real. We are never beyond hiding our faces. Someone, even if it’s just God, always knows. Are we going to be like modern, cyber Klansmen, or are we going to take off the mask, and be who God commanded us to be? Mark 12:30-31:
“‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.‘ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.‘ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – NKJV
We are commanded by Jesus to love our neighbors. In this day and age, that means on the internet as well. Let’s take off the masks that we can hide behind when we’re on the internet and become ourselves. And if our real selves is who we are on the internet, then let’s change who we are to be the people Jesus told us to be.
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I’m have partnered myself with People of the Second Chance and their Never Beyond Poster Series. They will feature 25 posters representing well known historical, current, and fictional characters who are believed to have harmed society. The campaign draws out themes of forgiveness, grace, and what a pathway to a second chance looks like.
To see my last post for the Never Beyond Series, click here: Darth Vader