Social media can be one of the darkest places in the world. People comment with cruel disregard for people on the other side of the screen. Yet, Christians have a responsibility to be the light of Christ in everything, including our social media message.
Twenty years ago, many of us couldn’t imagine social media existing much less consuming large portions of our lives. But, it has become how most people get news and interact with the global community on a daily basis. I don’t know the exact statistics, but most people check social media first thing each morning.
June 30, 2010 people celebrated the first World Social Media Day, which is around the time I joined the ranks of smart phone users and began to dip my toe into this new Facebook thing that was replacing MySpace. LOL
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And I’ve come to embrace it in many forms. I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and StumbleUpon, and a few more, but haven’t bitten the SnapChat bullet yet.
But one thing I try to do no matter which site I’m on is portray a consistent Christ-centered message.
Whether on my personal page or Heaven not Harvard accounts, nothing matters more to me than being as genuine a witness for my faith as I can be in every aspect of my social media use.
But social media is hard!
People are emboldened behind their keyboards to share every thought and emotion, often without much thought to how their words reflect on them as people or affect others.Our social media message should be centered on a Kingdom-mindset and Christ focus. Click To Tweet
Honestly, I could write a book about Christian social media usage, but today, I want to focus on how we interact with our friends primarily.
Because it’s easy to see that social media is destructive and divisive within marriages and friendships. So we need to make sure we don’t miss the opportunity to be a light for Christ on social media among our friends.
So Why use social media at all?
As an Army wife, I live in a transient community. Social media allows us to stay in touch with people who have moved away and stay close through interacting with each other online.
Also, we live far from all our family. Social media allows us to feel more connected to family: cousins, aunts and grandparents, even those on the other side of the country or even world.
Even in the civilian sector, social media allows us to befriend and communicate with people around the globe. I’ve made real friendships with people in other states and walks of life and even on other continents.
BUT . . .
Our words have more weight than ever, and words without the benefit of tone of voice or facial expressions. Only our words must stand and reflect the heart we had when we posted an article or comment.
I write this not as one who has mastered my online words or social media message, but as one contending for righteousness in this arena.
Matthew 12:36 ESV / I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,
It is not a stretch to assume that God will also hold us accountable for the words we type, as well.
Yesterday, I shared a post about service and the importance of focusing less on what I’m getting, more on how I’m loving others.
Focusing on how I love has also changed how I interact online.
Recently, a socially liberal, atheist friend and I were on opposite sides of an emotional issue in a Facebook thread. No matter how I explained my thoughts, he didn’t see it my way.
While tempting to use snarky wit to drive home my point, my goal in the conversation surpassed this one issue. Ultimately, my Kingdom-minded goal was to love my friend by demonstrating the love of Christ who lives in me.
At the end of the day, even this delicate and difficult topic was not as important as reaching my friend for Christ.
I prayed before reading each of his replies. Again, I prayed before replying. I typed replies and then prayed and revised.
In the end, I was able to address HIM not his position or his ideas, but reach out as a friend. “Hey, our friendship is more important than our agreement here.” Doing so reflected Christ more than convincing him of my Christian position on this issue ever would have.
I struggle with this issue everyday since I’m fairly political. And I do believe part of God’s calling in my life has been to righteously contend for His truths. However, I feel very strongly that I should err on the side of invitation and grace in how I interact on social media.
When I account for my words, I want to be able to say that everything I said was done in my very human attempt to be a light for Christ in one of the darkest places in the world – the internet.
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