October 20, 2017

Social Media: a Christian Perspective

Social media has evolved rather drastically, hasn’t it? Twenty years ago, hardly anyone you knew had email. Ten years ago, people were just finding out about instant messaging. Now we have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram…

Email and other media sites allow us to make connections, share opinions, and voice our thoughts to the world. It doesn’t matter whether you’re popular or well-known: you can be heard just as loudly as the next guy. It doesn’t matter if you live hours or days apart: you can chat in real-time, and keep up with every detail of a loved one’s daily life.

But what should a Christian do with social media? How should we interact? Are there principles we should follow in our time on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Let’s think about this for a moment…

Social Media

Social media comes with great responsibility, especially for Christians.

We have a responsibility to show Christ in every single thing we say or do! We have testimonies to maintain, good news to proclaim to the world, and fellow Christians to edify and encourage.

That can be hard sometimes, especially in this age of over-sharing.

It can be hard to speak in love, when something upsets you and Twitter is only a click away. It can be hard to speak with grace, when you’re crabby and unhappy and Facebook is right there in front of you.

Social media can be abused.

You probably know what I’m talking about…

Those people who share opinions just for the sake of starting an argument.
The ones who forward every single story or photo that comes across their screen.
The ones who share every.little.detail about their breakfast, lunch, and dinner — not to mention their sock color, kid’s homework assignments, latest political rant, and how much they paid at the grocery store.

Social media can be idolized.

For instance, when it comes before God:

  • Like checking your messages every morning before even thinking about your Creator.
  • Not being able to leave your phone alone for thirty minutes to listen to a sermon.
  • Getting so caught up in speaking your opinions, or playing Words with Friends, that you neglect intercession or Scripture memorization.

Or when it comes before your family:

  • Sharing your opinions on Facebook rather than having a real-life conversation with someone close to you.
  • Playing that game, or following that tweetchat, instead of being fully present with your family.
  • Stressing over some comment on Facebook or your blog, and ignoring things of long-term importance in your home, church, or community.

Does any of that sound familiar?

Spend some time thinking over your typical day… and be completely honest with yourself.

Do you often choose the effortlessness of social media over the messiness of real-life? Do you fritter your free hours away online, when you could actually redeem that time by focusing on something of eternal value?

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to play games, or message your friends, or share funny pictures on Facebook. Hey, I enjoy Words with Friends too!

But we need to have a right perspective of social media
in order to use it wisely. [tweet this]

Have you ever prayed about how God wants you to use Facebook and Twitter? What He wants you to blog about? What images will glorify Him most on Pinterest? 

Have you ever thought about other people’s responses when you “like” or share certain posts? How those photos you always post might tempt someone else to sin? How promoting certain sites might be a stumbling-block to a weaker Christian?

Have you ever considered how a Christian should use social media?

Keep in mind, of course, that each person has different lifestyles and responsibilities. We’re not all called to share marriage tips or home-making advice. We’re not all called to write devotionals. In fact, the nitty-gritty details of the “best” use of social media will probably look different for everyone.

Yet the best use of social media will always reflect the unchanging principles of God’s Word.

For instance:

  • God tells us to remain pure–so everything we share or comment on should promote purity.
  • He tells us to love others–so we should never write anything unkind or unloving.
  • He tells us to prefer others ahead of ourselves–so we should avoid posting things which would tempt/hurt/lead others astray.

We are to think on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praise-worthy… and everything we share should promote those things!

Have you ever considered how to redeem your time on social media?

P.S. Here are some resources to help you better use social media for God’s glory.

 

Photo adapted from here.

Comments

  1. I think this is one of the best posts you’ve written lately.

  2. the white wave says:

    I was going to say the same thing as barefoothippiegirl. My eyes were riveted to the screen on this one. This is something of extreme importance and interest to me. Working with college kids, especially, I want to be really careful about what I “like” and what I endorse. I also need to think about kids who are still forming Biblical convictions for themselves. And family; that was so good. I make sure to have my computer time only after my husband leaves for work, and only after spending time with God. I read a really good article recently on what your FB “likes” say about you. The researchers said they could accurately label a person based on their “likes”. I will take personal interaction over cyber-spacial interaction any day, but it is so true that we have a great responsibility-and a great oppotunity-here. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. This was excellent! Thank you! 🙂

  4. Wow. Thank you. I have had to keep myself in check lately – this is an excellent reminder!

  5. This is a valuable post, and gives us much to think about! I use social media for ministry/advocacy. I run a Christian blog that has been up for about six months, and a much more established blog for a more general audience. I set up Facebook pages for Missing Persons, Autism/Related Disabilities, and a prayer page. Recently, I began a Facebook group to encourage Christians to learn about and pray for persecuted believers. Though I’m far from perfect and have committed some of these infractions when hurting or upset, I seek to use social networks to defend/protect/preserve human life, to share my faith and to glorify God.

    • Lisa, thanks so much for stopping by! It sounds like you are learning to truly redeem social media, and make a difference with it in the spiritual realm. Keep at it!

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