I love social media. It allows people to keep in touch with others around the world. It can be used as a platform for sharing the truth of Scripture. It encourages conversation by sharing articles (like this one). It even provides comic relief in the middle of your day (funny posts, memes, videos of people falling, etc).
At the same time, I hate social media. As I read “posts” from fellow Christians, my own church members, and even leaders who serve alongside me, I’m often left scratching my head in shock and wonder. So as a pastor, here are a few things I’d like you to remember before you make your next post.
- You are more connected to people than you think. It doesn’t take many Facebook friends or Twitter followers to connect you to most of the people in your community. When you think about the Facebook friends of your Facebook friends, or the Twitter followers of your Twitter followers, it should be easy to see how your post could end up being seen by lots of people.
- Those you complain about might live down the street. Social media has become the place for offended people and unhappy customers to vent their frustrations. People regularly complain about schools and businesses. Just remember, the person you complain about may need to meet Jesus or find a church home. Just know they won’t be coming to your church when they hear about your online gripe.
- Arguing on social media does not change anyone’s mind. Many social media posts are elementary arguments about politics, religion, morality, and culture. Those who already agree with you might “like” your post or “reTweet” your Tweet. But no one on the other side will be convinced. Also, since people can’t read your body language or hear your tone, you just sound angry.
- Think twice before using or posting or sharing vulgarity. If you are a follower of Jesus, you should guard your tongue in real life and in social media life. Verses about “no unwholesome talk” most certainly apply to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you claim to be a Christian and post about spiritual things, don’t contradict yourself with crude, foul language.
- Your posts contain the overflow of your heart. I don’t want to turn into a social media Pharisee by crunching the percentages on what topics we post about. Certainly it’s OK to post about your kids or your car or your vacation or your whatever. Every post does not have to be about Jesus. But if you’re a Christian, shouldn’t some posts be about Jesus? Your posts reflect what you think about most.
- Only cowards chose to be passive-aggressive online. If you are upset with another person, please do the Biblical thing and the courageous thing … Go talk to them face to face. Don’t call. Don’t email or text. And above all don’t post about “anonymous” people on Facebook or Twitter. Everyone knows who you’re talking about, and you are acting like a 7th grade drama queen. Stop!
- Some things don’t need to be shared on social media. Some things are too heavy for social media. Some things are too personal for social media. Some things don’t need to be shared with all of your online connections (and potentially, all of their online connections). Social media is a poor platform for talking about marriage problems, rebellious children, and personal struggles with sin.
- The things you share offer a gateway to other sites. I know you get bombarded with pictures, memes, videos, and quotes … I also know that some are worth sharing. Some are inspirational. Some are down right funny! But when you “share” or “reTweet” you are posting a link to sites that may contain questionable material. Use caution before sending your friends to unknown sites.
Originally published October 19, 2015 on landoncoleman.com.