By DANNY MINTON
Our lives have never been more open than they are today due to the outbreak of “Social Media” and “Blogs.” Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and the like are words that have become common everyday words, especially to the younger generation, but spanning all age groups. Add to the “Social Media” the vast number of blogs that you find across the internet. Add to these, email, and we know more about people than we ever knew in the past, probably much more than we need to know.
I have a Facebook account that I read through, occasionally posting something, but not addicted to the point I spend hours a day combing through the lives of all my friends. In fact, I don’t have as many friends as some do. I’m picky when it comes to accepting friendships on Facebook. Most of them are people I attend worship with or have in the past, school friends and family. I like to use Facebook to keep up with my friends lives, their families, their struggles and just to stay connected. I used to have a blog, but don’t have much time to post to it anymore. Its purpose was to build people up with positive lessons, many of which I have shared in our Thursday Thoughts.
Unfortunately, “Social Media” has become a place where people air out their “dirty laundry.” I see things from people that they would never express to me in public or private for that matter. I see some posts, comments, and photos that are far from what Jesus would want us to be. It’s as if “Social Media” is some sort of dark area in our world that we can let loose, believing we are anonymous to the world, not realizing the consequences our words or actions have on our example of Christ.
I’ve seen blogs and comments that throw out the “dirty laundry” of a church. I’ve read through many that tell the world about all the problems “the church” is having. As I read them, I tell myself, “If I’m not a Christian reading this, would I even want to be a part of a group like this?” We’ve seen the destruction our President has brought on himself with his “Twitter” comments. I believe we are doing the same thing through “Social Media” and blogs. How is the world seeing us? Are they seeing Jesus in us, or to use Jesus’ term, are they seeing “hypocrites?”
In the movie, “Bambi,” the little character, Thumper, is reminded by his mother to repeat what his father had told him. He answered, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all!” There is a time and place for airing grievances with the church. “Social Media” is not a place where we can all of a sudden shed our Christianity and be like the rest of the world. Jesus never talked about “part-time” Christianity. In fact, “Social Media” and our blogs should be showing the world how Christ infiltrates every part of our being.
Jesus told his disciples, “You are the light of the world!” He said, “You are the salt of the earth!” Are we teaching people to be “Salt and Light” in this modern age of internet access? Are we teaching people that we reflect the image of Christianity as much through our online activities as we do face to face? Are we teaching that God expects us to be like Christ outside our church buildings as well as within its walls?
Paul wrote to Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12, NIV) Over and over Paul told churches, “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ.”
Before we blog, before we email, before we post to “Social Media,” we should ask ourselves a question. “Would Jesus, send this?” “Would Jesus put something like this on his Facebook page?” “Am I presenting a positive image of what a Christian is with the words or photos I post or send?”
“Social Media,” blogs, email, and other forms of internet communication can be one of the greatest ways to reach the world with Jesus. They can be tools to spread Christianity throughout the world. However, if we are not careful, they can also turn people away when misused. It’s almost impossible to erase something completely from all forms of “Social Media.” Once, it’s out there we may never be able to pull it back.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:9 (NIV)
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ