A Pastor's Heart
|Posted on October 18, 2018 at 10:55 AM|
Social media is everywhere. In the last fifteen years, social media has grown from a concept to a necessity of life and work. This world has allowed many people to find a voice for their ideas, struggles, and opinions. This invention has produced the rediscovery of old friends, the forming of common relationships, and a constant bombardment of information of all kinds. However, one of the byproducts of social media has been the erosion of the Christian ethic by many believers in their online interactions. Many disciples of the Lord Jesus act out on social media in ways that they would be ashamed of acting around the dinner table and this must be changed. As we continue to immerse ourselves in social media, especially in an election year, I want to offer some simple reminders for our social media activities.
First, remember your priority. Luke 15 tells us that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Matthew 28 and Acts 1 both emphasize the role that the Lord Jesus’ disciples have to continue that work until the Lord Jesus returns. In our online interactions, the priority of making disciples of the Lord Jesus must remain the main thing. How we interact with others and what we share must be filtered through the priority of making disciples of all people if we are to maintain our Christian ethic in this realm.
Secondly, be honest. Exodus 20:16 prohibits us from giving a false testimony and Proverbs 6 states that God hates a lying tongue. For the believer honesty and integrity are an essential part of our lives and provide a foundation for the work of the Gospel and the kingdom through us. Consequently, just because you see a meme or read a post that you like or that agrees with your point of view does not make it the truth. Take two minutes and research something before you share it. When you share material that is not true, you are lying. Jesus, in his parable of the talents, expresses that he who is faithful in few things will be given greater things but he who is unfaithful in small things even that which he has will be taken from him. If you cannot be faithful in your honesty with the memes your share how can anyone believe that you are being honest when you share about the things of eternity? For many our social media makes us like Lot. Genesis 19 tells us that when Lot told the men who were to marry his daughters about the judgment to come upon the city they thought he was telling them a big joke. Lot lost his credibility in Genesis 14 and for many we have lost our credibility through our posts on Facebook.
Third, be respectful. Ephesians 5:4 calls for the Lord’s disciples to refrain from obscenities, foolish talk, and crude joking. These things should have no place in the life of the believer and as a result they should be absent from our social media as well. When we share things that we find humorous are we encouraging everyone to laugh with us or are we instead bringing about a situation for us to laugh at someone else? How can we expect to make disciples of all people if they see us ridiculing them through our social media post? When we post hurtful and disrespectful material about homosexual, transgendered people, people from the other side of our political aisle, members of the opposite sex, people of different ethnicities, our elected leaders, and members of another generation we damage the message of the Gospel that we share and the validity of our disciple-making efforts. Romans 12:17 calls for us not to repay evil with evil but rather to do what is right. If our priority is the making of disciples, then disrespect towards others must be eliminated from our social media activity.
I cannot claim innocence, nor can I claim ignorance in my own social media activity. I have been and likely will be guilty of ignoring and abandoning these reminders in my own social media work. I seek the Lord’s forgiveness and I seek the forgiveness of others. I pray that I will be more faithful to the command of the Lord Jesus tomorrow than I am today. I pray that you will be more faithful to this call also. May God use our repentance and our desire to walk more faithfully with him to expand his kingdom in our lives and in the lives of those who do not yet know Him through his Son the Lord Jesus Christ.