Social media represents the best and worst of society. People freely dispense pictures of their family involved in various fun activities. While others use their platform to argue, berate, or belittle anyone different than them.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter provide both beauty and darkness simultaneously.
If you are not cautious, instead of being a light to the online world, you will quickly engage and add to the darker side of social media. So let’s look at five easy ways to be a better Christian online.
Ephesians 4:29 says “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up.” This verse is not about cursing is bad. Paul is teaching that your words matter.
They are either building someone up or tearing them down.
If your regular goal is “brutal honesty” and you forget the “kindness” aspect, then you missed the point Paul was making.
Be kind to people online. It might not get you more followers, but it is the Jesus method.
Share truth with grace:
While we are called to be kind, that doesn’t mean Christians can’t have opinions, stances, or beliefs. Of course we do.
Yet there is a way to be honest and filled with grace.
Before you post or respond to someone ask yourself this question, “If someone spoke to me in the tone I’m about to use, would I listen?” If your answer is no, then pause, think about your words, and then rewrite or delete it all together.
Share truth (or what you think is truth) with a perfect blend of grace.
Engage arguments in a healthy way:
Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
This verse gives us a helpful framework for discussing difficult topics on social media.
For example, last week our country faced another painful school shooting. This immediately resulted in the debates raging online. More gun control. No gun control. The problem is mental health. The problem is AR-15’s.
You saw all the arguments and maybe even engaged in the discussion, which is not a bad thing. In fact these discussions are incredibly helpful because it hopefully helps our society work toward better solutions.
But there is a way to address these issues in a healthy way, and then there is the way most people do it. Most are immediately dismissive, rude, and condescending to competing view points.
While the healthy ones have conversation in a respectful and gentle way, with the goal being a resolution not winning a Facebook argument. Once again share your “perceived truth” with an abundance of grace.
Pray for others:
This simple invitation to pray offered encouragement and hope to people all across the world.
If you offer to pray for others, respond to their request with a written prayer. Then you don’t forget to pray, and they see that you are interceding on their behalf.
Praying for others online is a great way to bring light into a very dark world.
Pornography is everywhere. It’s a rampant part of our society.
I have to block at least three to four porn accounts a week who try to follow me on Twitter. It’s a nuisance. I in no way seek them out. They must be some kind of online bot or something.
My larger point is you don’t even have to look for porn online. It will find you.
When pornography inches its way in your direction take a page out of Joseph’s playbook. Run the opposite direction as fast as possible when Potiphar’s wife approaches you.
At all cost and with hyper vigilance avoid pornography entering your online world. It’s a dark hole that most do not come out of easily.
Christians are called to be the light of the world both in person and digitally. Let us work toward making our online presence be a shining to the transformational work of our Lord and Savior. Help others choose Jesus today through your social media.