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, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat . . .
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 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.
It 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.
It 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 twee-tchat, 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!
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?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.
- 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! Here are some resources to help.
Have you ever considered how a Christian should use social media?
Photo adapted from here.