By Ryan Churchill Social Media and Team Jesus
If you’re reading this, chances are good you came by this article in a social media post. Perhaps you check in with Team Jesus Mag regularly by going straight to the site, but if you’re like me, you probably wait for articles from sites that you follow to pop up on your social media news feed.
It seems to be the way things work nowadays. For so many of the people in our world, social media has been the place where we no longer get the news, but we interact with the news source – we “like,” “comment,” “react to,” and “share” the articles with our network.
On its surface, social media looks like a great way to connect with distant friends. It’s a place to add your two cents to the social commentary of the day.
Regardless of the social media platform you choose, even the most socially paralyzed introvert is empowered with a simple, singular click to be a catalyst for change in a world where they otherwise feel little or no control. With the world wide web at our fingertips, we no longer go to the Yellow Pages where you were once encouraged to “let your fingers do the walking.” Instead, we now go to social media where we are encouraged to let our fingers do the talking.
The creators of social media used these features as powerful selling points to bring people all over the world into a new domain. Despite the selling points, social media has a sinister dark side, which has emerged step for step with each new feature.
We all know about the predatory behavior, the slanderous rhetoric, the “fake news,” and blatantly hateful words spoken about anyone and everyone. Whether individually or corporately, we’ve all been lumped in through stereotypes. And, with every “reaction” click, every “share” click, and every “comment,” positive or negative, the darkness is advanced to our friends and followers.
Does the Bible have anything to say about the dark side or even the selling points of social media? Let’s face it, social media didn’t exist back then. So, can the Bible speak to it?
The Bible and Your Social Media Profiles
Let’s look at some Scriptures which can be applied to social media by simply using a substitute word. Scripture uses the word “tongue”, but you can use “your words” to represent both your spoken words and your written words on social media.
I want to encourage you to open the Word and allow God to speak to you through James 3:5-11.
I think God’s Word speaks with enough clarity that you probably don’t need any explanation from me, so let me highlight some phrases from this passage which I find particularly noteworthy and reason for us to go to the Father in prayer:
- The Tongue:
- is a fire
- is the very world of iniquity
- defiles the entire body
- sets on fire the course of our life
- With it [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and we curse men:
- who have been made in the likeness [image] of God
- Does a fountain pour out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?
This excerpt from James is complemented by, and perhaps inspired by Proverbs 26:20-25.
Once again, read this passage from Proverbs for yourself, but allow me to highlight some phrases which directly tie us into the passage from James, and are worthy of our prayer and consideration.
- For lack of wood, the fire goes out.
- Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
- The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body.
- He who hates disguises it with his lips but lays up deceit in his heart.
- When he [who hates] speaks graciously, do not believe him . . .
There may be no words of greater conviction in the entire Bible than the above passages. But, with this conviction, the Holy Spirit offers great comfort in James 4:5-10. I’d like you to read that passage in the Bible so you know how it is actually presented, but I’m going to use the same words and re-write it in a different order, and add a little commentary in the brackets.
Humble yourself in the presence of the Lord. [Don’t you know] GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD? Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. [This isn’t the message or advice the world gives you, but there is a purpose behind it because] He gives a greater grace [a grace the world will never offer nor does it even want you to know it’s been offered.] He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us [And so] HE GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. [Through that grace you may] draw near to God and He will draw near to you [despite what the world teaches because He is intimate with the upright]. Cleanse your hands and purify your hearts, [even though it’s difficult to admit that you are a] double-minded sinner. [And in doing so] He will lift you up.
It’s tempting to look at these passages and give ourselves a pass, choosing to focus on the speck in our brother’s eye. But, Scripture tells us to first remove the log in our own eye.
Wisdom literature can be a blessing when applied to our own lives and when we speak its truths calibrated with grace to those of peace in our lives. But, it can be a curse when we use it to speak truth into the lives of those with whom we have no relationship. It can be made even worse when no grace is offered.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Take some time with the following questions regarding today’s Scriptures. Pray over them. Humbly go before the Lord and request of Him the words of the Psalmist: Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. (Ps 139:23-24)
- Have your words on or off social media started fires that you have been unable to put out?
- Do your words only defile your body, or can they defile the body of Christ?
- Do you believe when Scripture tells us that all of humankind was made in the image of God? Are you comfortable with and ready to stand firmly behind the words you’ve used to speak about all who have been made in His image?
- Are your words trustworthy when you speak graciously?
What are some other scripture references that help
guide our behavior on social media?
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