Before social media, the word audience had a specific meaning that was associated with a public gathering of people, such as the audience at the movie. Nowadays the word ‘audience’ takes on a whole new meaning in relation to social media and the vast audience that exists there. Kids aspire to become YouTube personalities, or Instagram influencers, and even if you don’t have thousands of followers, you have an audience. Not only do you have your ownaudience that is seeing your content, you are an audience to someone else, and can constantly see their content as well. This allows us to, for more time than we’d like to admit, either silently judge others for what they posted or congratulate ourselves on what we put out there.
Our audience extends way beyond plays, concerts, books, music or art. We have all these opportunities, maybe hundreds a day, to peak into the lives of others. We hear their words, see their videos, or read articles that are important to them. In this climate of easily accessible information and media, we as a culture have become EXPERTS at judging. It is no surprise that anxiety is on the rise in high schoolers, and that young mothers everywhere feel more pressure than ever to meet certain standards of perfection. We place unrealistic expectations not only on others, but ourselves as well.
Self-righteousness creeps in when we see others and think we are better than them. Insecurity creeps in when we see others and think they are better than us. Neither of these attitudes is the posture that God wants for us. Paul tells us in Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
God calls us to a humility that is grounded in the assurance of salvation through a faith that is from God and not ourselves. In this humility and truth we can be free from judgement and comparison. In this humility we don’t need to be insecure, but rest in the security of God as our Father in Heaven who has made us each in His image and loves us as we come to him, broken and imperfect and in need of a savior.
When we think of self-righteousness or insecurities as we compare ourselves to others we must stop and remember our focus needs to be our audience of God. Instead of spending time on what others are thinking about you, and what you are thinking of them, dwell instead on the gift of faith and salvation that God has given us in Christ. Focus on living a life that is worthy and pleasing to a holy God, in humility for the faith, grace, and love that he lavishes on us daily.