The Voice on Social Media
Can I just share from my heart with you this week? Can I be vulnerable with you without fear of offense?
I am so concerned, and oftentimes heartbroken, over what Christians write on social media. I feel that many believers might feel that social media has given them a “voice” to express their thoughts, opinions and feelings and the “voice” is a bitter voice rather than an encouraging and loving voice.
It might be more advantageous for a person to get off Facebook and/or Twitter rather than to cause division in the Body of Christ. It might be a greater good to quiet that bitter voice that stirs within rather than to give it a platform.
In this day of communication that chiefly happens through the Internet rather than face-to-face, it is easy to vomit rather than to use restraint. Our fingers are apt to fly across the keys in rapid reaction rather than in thoughtful response.
God has given us a tongue for several reasons.
The first reason we are given a tongue, or the ability to communicate, is to worship the Lord! Our tongue should be used as an instrument of praise and worship to the most High King! So, the next time before you post an opinion on Facebook, you might want to ask yourself, “How does this bring glory to God?”
The second reason we are given a tongue is to encourage others. Our tongues were made to be tools of healing and not of harm. God gave us the ability to communicate with others so that we could pour soothing ointment of love and compassion on contentious and vicious situations. So, the next time before you post a rebuttal or a strong reaction on social media, you might want to use this as a litmus test, “Will these words encourage those who read them?”
Now, people might argue with me saying, “I need to speak the truth.” The Bible says, “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” – Ephesians 4:15
So – you can speak the truth as long as it is done in love, with love, expressed by love, motivated by love and with the final goal being love.
This is the Bible’s definition of love:
“Love is patient and kind … love does not brag and is not arrogant … love does not act unbecomingly … it does not seek its own and is not provoked.” (I Corinthians 13)
That means that all of our truthful social media posts must come under the umbrella of what the Bible identifies love to be. When in doubt, read the last paragraph again.
Love is patient and kind … love does not brag and is not arrogant … love does not act unbecomingly … it does not seek its own and is not provoked.
The failure of Israel to enter the Promised Land began with the simple desire to murmur … or to allow their opinions to be heard. They had just a faint desire to complain and to express their discontent and mistreatment. This decision to “murmur” grew into rebellion and idol worship.
I am going to challenge you today to refuse to be discouraged by other’s opinions or their lack of agreement with you. Refuse to be unhappy with politicians, sports figures or those who vote differently than you do. Count it all joy when news commentators get under your skin!
The devil wants to keep you distracted by the opinions of others and by your “right” to verbalize an opposing point of view. The devil wants to sow discouragement, bitterness and separation among the Body of Christ. Don’t allow it! Sow seeds of love, encouragement and joy instead.
Let’s cultivate a spirit of gladness on social media! If you want to be used by God, you will determine to use your tongue, your keyboard and your pen as your chief instrument of joy.
If you honestly want to have a conversation with someone whose opinions are different than yours are, do it one-on-one and preferably face-to-face. And when you have this conversation, start it with prayer and end it with blessing!
You know what? I have opinions, too. I have social justice opinions and opinions on abortion and political opinions and civil rights opinions and patriotic opinions. But I have decided not to allow those opinions to define me or to determine my relationships.
I have decided that rather than allowing my personal opinions to alienate me from a world in need, I would rather give them Jesus and hope instead.
“He must increase but I must decrease.” John 3:30
It was the Englishman, Edward Buller-Lyton, in the 19th Century, who said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
What did he mean by that phrase? I believe that he meant that one’s words have more power to kill than does a murderous weapon. Perhaps he was trying to express the fact that communication is sometimes the most effective missile of an assassin of the soul.
If he were alive today, I believe that Mr. Buller-Lyton might express it this way,
“The tweet is mightier than the sword …”
“The Facebook post is mightier than the sword …”
“The smartphone is mightier than the sword …”
“The laptop is mightier than the sword …”
All I am asking today is that you would examine yourself; ask God to search your heart and then to determine precisely why you are on social media.
This is what I have decided for me:
I am not on social media to criticize others who are made in the image of Christ.
I am not on social media to criticize pastors or teachers whose methods might be different than mine.
I am not on social media to spout my potentially divisive political opinions.
I am on social media to heal a broken world.
I am on social media to speak the truth of the Gospel message in a compassionate manner.
I am on social media to turn people’s hearts back to Christ.
I am on social media to encourage one another as long as it is still called today. (Hebrews 3:13)
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!