You know, so many times I have heard people refer to the internet as not real. Once I heard a boy talking about how he was hurt from what one person said to him on the internet, and the person he was talking to shrugged and said simply, "Well, it's on the internet. It's not real life."
I hate when people say that.
It doesn't feel real when you talk to people across the internet sometimes, because you can't see their face, you can't hear their personal voice. It took me a long time to realize that just because you can't see someone's face or hear their voice doesn't mean they aren't real.
Whenever I used to give people prayer requests at my old church I would have to explain the whole situation to them. And they would ask me, "So where do you know these people from?" I would say, "I know them through a forum."
They would give me a strange look, and say, "Okay..." After an awkward moment they would just say they would pray, and they would never ask again.
People don't look at usernames on forums as real people.
I know when I first started debating on a forum, and I ran into some pretty screwed up people. For a while I just shrugged what they said off. And one day, when I started to get to know people it hit me. These are real people. They aren't apart of some computer. They are real. They are real.
They are just as real as the people who sit next to you at church.
Just because you can't see them doesn't mean that they aren't real, and they aren't in need.
A few months ago I was talking to a guy who, when I said I had some friends on the internet laughed at me. He probably thought I was a nerd. But in reality, the internet is a great tool to reach people.
There is a need in every place. I go on a forum constantly because I know that I have opportunities there, to share my faith, to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Sometimes people are afraid in their own churches and homes to say what they are thinking, or to share what they are going through. And sometimes it's easier to be accepted at a place where no one cares what you look like, or how you sound--they care about your heart.
And sometimes it's so much easier to write instead of speaking.
There is a need everywhere. Even on places on the net. There are people who are dying. There are people who are going through the storms and who keep looking at the waves instead of the Creator. There are people who are in need.
Yes, even on the internet.
Sometimes people are in trials, and sometimes they just need someone to pray. And even when no one understands who they know in person, it's encouraging to be able to go on a forum and have people understand you. And tell you that they are praying. Sometimes all you want is to hear that someone is out there who cares, and who prays, and who thinks of you.
But that won't happen if you keep telling others that the people on the other side of the computer aren't real.
I am sick of people telling me that it isn't real, because there are people out there who need encouragement and who need the Savior. There are people dying. Real people.
If you don't view them as real people then you won't pray for them like your pray for your unbelieving neighbor. You won't cry and pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ across the country if you don't even look at them as real people.
And you say that you can't know if someone is lying or serious. You say that you can't know if someone doesn't care or is sincere.
Open your ears and listen for once. And you'll hear their voices. Crying from the words, screaming from the screen. You can hear their voices. And sometimes that is more than seeing their faces every week at church. You might never know the faces that belong to those voices, but sometimes that's all you need. All you need to set you weeping and crying for those people is to hear their voices.