OPINION COLUMNS

Turn out the lights

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Well, the Super Bowl party has come and gone again. I’m pretty sure that what will be remembered most will not be the commercials, the half-time show, or even the game itself. Even the intrigue of the brother vs. brother head coaching duel was overshadowed.

The highlight of the 2013 Super Bowl will be the 34-minute delay when the lights went out in half of the Superdome.

Just as it seemed that the Ravens were going to run away with the game, the ghost of old Dandy Don Meredith started to sing, “Turn out the lights; the party’s over.” Yes, I am old enough to remember the golden tones of Dandy Don on Monday Night Football.

Apparently there are a lot of people of Facebook who are old enough to remember that, because the jokes were flowing during that time period. It is actually my Super Bowl Facebook experience that inspired this week’s column.

A Facebook sports watching party can be a great time. You can interact with your friends without having to buy enough snacks to feed them. When the Rangers were in the World Series in 2011 and were two strikes away (twice) from winning it all in Game 6, I shared the whole heart-pumping experience with family in the room and friends online. It was a blast. It increased the fun.

I was hoping for that as I watched the Super Bowl last night, but it wasn’t the case. The lights going out mercifully gave people a joke forum just before I bailed on Facebook for the night. I bailed because I was tired of the criticism. Everyone and everything were fair game… wardrobe choice… lip-syncing… anthem arrangement… who did or did not acknowledge whom… which players deserve to be hated. I was ready to deliberately turn out the lights on this party.

Those of you who don’t do Facebook or other social media might suggest that this is just one more reason not to. I might agree if it were not simply a reflection of real life. I fear that we are becoming a culture of cynics, critics and whiners. We have forgotten the old adage about not saying anything if you can’t say something nice. We have forgotten the message of Jesus that we should treat others as we want to be treated.

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Many of the folks who read this rarely do much cussin’. But this verse encourages us to ask these questions of our talk: “Is it helpful? Does it build up? Does it bless?”

Our lives matter so much to God that He wants us to constantly consider how to build up instead of tearing down. When we can’t find anything encouraging to say, this party’s over.

Dr. Gerry Lewis is director of missions for the Harvest Baptist Association, which is headquartered in Decatur. He writes a blog at www.lifematterstoday.blogspot.com.

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