I like social media. I enjoy following fellow Christian friends and keeping up with their lives. Over the years, though, I’ve made a few observations of some things that could have been better had they not made Facebook or Twitter or whatever. Unfortunately, some of these things are mistakes I have made, too
What are they? Below are five of them.
1. Judgmentally calling people out on their failures.
Church leaders fall. I’m sad to say it, but it happens a lot. My question is: why do we rush to celebrate their downfall?
Sure, Paul says to rebuke heretics, and Jesus says to watch out for wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. But what I’m talking about are genuine, converted followers of Jesus who mess up. Why do we pounce on them?
Jesus says to pray and love your enemies. Your enemies.
If this is the way you are called to treat people who hate you, how much more for people you’ll see in eternity?
Pray for church leaders who fall. Observe and learn from their mistakes, and try not to make them yourself. But whatever you do, don’t bash them on Facebook. It’s just not godly.
2. Flippantly posting about cultural issues.
These are hot topics, and topics the world really, really cares about. So it’s not acceptable to say whatever you want, even if you’re right.
Because even if you have the right answers, if you post them in the wrong way, you’re wrong.
What do I mean?
I’m a truth guy. I love the truth and standing up for what’s right. But there’s a way of defending the truth that’s wrong: by being harsh, by being off-putting, by being inconsiderate.
Paul reminds us: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
What you say is important. But how you say it is just as important. Right info with the wrong delivery will not convince people.
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt,” says Mark Twain. Think about this before you post about Donald Trump or Black Lives Matter or whatever.
3. Engaging in sharp discussions.
You see this all-the-time on twitter.
Some argue about theological issues until they’re blue in the face.
Is this worth your time?
I mean, be right. Come to the correct understanding. Don’t back down from your convictions.
But why bash your brother or sister in Christ over 140 characters?
It’s fine to communicate. Let people know you disagree. Send them a tweet. But for goodness sake: don’t turn it into a major fiasco. “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook,” William James observes. Sometimes you just gotta overlook certain things and move on.
As the old saying goes, never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it (or something like that).
You’ve seen this before.
One of the biggest downfalls of social media is the negativity. And this is usually because of grumbling.
Paul says this to the Philippians: “Do everything without complaining or grumbling” (Philippians 2:14).
Including social media posts.
We all have hard days. And when we do, we feel compelled to share it in order to fully express the frustration, something we can’t do if things are bottled in. This is the natural human tendency.
So do just that, but in a different way then the rest of the world: Next time you find yourself in the middle of a hard day, tell God, and then tell some trusted Christian friends.
We care. But it’s probably just not the best info for Facebook.
After all, grumbling on social media is an anti-evangelism strategy.
5. Trying to be like someone you’re not.
I confess I’ve done this before. I’ve posted pithy statements about prime issues that I didn’t care about just because I knew I would get a lot of “likes.” This is dumb.
I need to remind myself over and over that while I have a lot of things to improve, I don’t have anything to prove, and certainly not to anyone on social media.
How the world perceives me doesn’t matter because I’ve already been approved by the One who created it.
When it comes to social media — just be yourself. Your real friends — and God — will know when you’re faking it.
So have fun on social media. Check-in at your favorite places, post pictures of the kids, share hilarious cat videos. Let us in on a little bit of your life. But remember to use social media wisely, and let it not distract you from more important things. As John Piper says, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from a lack of time.”
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