I can’t speak to those on social media who don’t know Jesus because they march to the beat of a different drummer.
If, however, you’re a follower of Christ and you use social media, listen up. Every one of us has seen social media used in ways that are not honoring to our Lord. Some of us are plenty guilty ourselves. Including me. Oh yes, it certainly includes me.
There are right ways and wrong ways to use social media. There are reasons why we choose to use different social media outlets.
I appreciate social media because it is an avenue of proclaiming Truth and learning Truth. However, it is essential that Followers of Christ exercise wise judgment in choosing to believe what they read, and perhaps even greater discernment is needed in deciding how to respond (or whether to respond) to the abundance of media content.
I’m not talking about the time spent (although that’s a cause for concern as well.) I’m not talking about why we use social media (which is also a cause for contemplation.)
I am talking about those of us who say we love Jesus and are on social media. I’m talking about how we conduct ourselves on social media. Ouch. That includes me.
Being a faithful Follower of Christ demands that we responsibly consider several things when using social media:
- Be better, not Boastful. Don’t boast, show off, or tantalize others. Sharing a status that tells your family and friends where you are or what you are doing because you know they care and want to know is far different than saying by sharing, “Look where I am and what I got to do!” “Don’t you wish you were me!” Before you post, ask yourself: Why am I putting this out there? Is it because I want to share what’s happening with my friends, or am I hoping to make someone a little jealous or envious? Do I want others to see what I can afford and where my wealth has taken me? Am I trying to prove that “I’m okay after what you did to me”?
- Do it right. Don’t Defame, Disrespect, or be Derogatory. Whether or not the person is a believer or not, we must not succumb to the world’s way of using social media. Before you post about someone, to someone, or comment on an event, ask yourself: what is my purpose for posting? Am I being vindictive? Is what I plan to post going to push someone away from God? Am I taking an opportunity to retaliate or seek revenge? We will know the answers to these questions; therefore we will know what we should do.
- Go for the Good instead of Gossip. We all know what gossip is. No matter how few friends you have on Facebook, none of them know all of the other friends. Therefore, sharing private information on your social media is gossip – because what you share comes across the walls of others who are neither part of the problem NOR part of the solution. If you share things with others who do not fit in these categories, you are gossiping. Gossip is wrong – Jesus says so. If you’re interested in more thoughts about Gossip, you can read here. If the information is not something you’d stand up and announce in front of hundreds of people, then don’t announce it on social media. Before you post, ask yourself: is this information pertinent to all the people who will read it? If it isn’t, then get your hands off that keyboard.
- Skip the Jugular. Don’t use Venom, Fangs, or Poison to riddle relationships. Don’t use social media to attack a particular person or vent frustrations with work, family, or church. Don’t argue or do tit-for-tat for the rest of us to watch. Watching family discourses where some folks are attacked, other folks retaliate, some excuse their own behavior, and still others air grievances makes me weary. (I usually just scroll on by, but sometimes it’s difficult to miss these sideshows entirely). Does God get weary of our jugular-attacking too? Before you post, ask yourself: why do I feel the need to lambast, attack, excuse, or retaliate? Is this response or post going to further the cause of Christ or dilute it?
Recognizing our need and desire for prestige and power will help us deflate the temptation to use social media for selfish reasons. We have an opportunity to use social media to further the Kingdom of Christ – let’s seize it! Satan will do anything he can to distract us from that purpose. He will snare us by using boasting, degrading, gossip, and hitting the jugular as we post, link, send, reply, share, pin, and tweet away.
Use these “Before you post, ask yourself” questions to help you choose what to delete and what to post. One click, one post a time, we can play for the winning team!