By Stan Rodda: When I was a kid in Sunday school, we sang a song that went like this…
Oh be careful little hands what you do.
Oh be careful little hands what you do.
For the Father up above is looking down in love.
So be careful little hands what you do.
If it were written today, I think that line would read, “Oh be careful little hands what you post and comment on social media.” Not rhythmically appealing, but work with me here.
At the last supper, Jesus reclined at a table and ate a meal with Simon the Zealot and Matthew the tax collector. If it weren’t for Jesus uniting them, Simon would have been more likely to stab Matthew to death in an alley than he would have been to eat a meal with him. Simon hated the Roman government and all those associated with it. Matthew was collecting taxes for the Roman government as a Jew.
Jesus gave us an example for everything as disciple makers, including how to lead and unite the far right and left. That doesn’t sound like a problem we have in the United States, does it? I don’t know a lot, but I do know this: there is no world system on this planet, or ever will be, that will unite people like the Gospel of Jesus.
I know a family struggling with whether or not they have a place in the church anymore simply because of how some Christians commented on a social media post. Because political positions and candidates have become the god we serve on every side of the aisle. To be fair, there are problems on both sides of this conversation, but for our purposes in this post, I simply want to focus on how to avoid causing more damage in the Kingdom of God with your online and social platforms.
As a disciple maker, I believe that social media and our online presence will be one of the key determining factors of our effectiveness in the future. In other words: it matters! So here are a few thoughts on how to avoid damaging the bride of Christ as a disciple of Jesus in the digital space.
Simplify Your Connections
Unfriend every person who you don’t personally know from your Facebook friends list. Call it a purge of sorts. Unfollow people on Twitter or Instagram. Leave political groups that leave you feeling anxious and scared. Leave the groups and unfollow pages that are only echo chambers for what you already think socially, economically, politically, etc. Get out of those spaces. Limit your social media intake to only those
If it hurts you to keep scrolling, then your battle is with your own pride. Deep down you have maybe you really believe that you are the one who is right all the time on every issue. And it’s nearly impossible for you to understand how anyone could think a different way. Assuming everyone must think and view things just like you. Your pride is in the way. Keep scrolling anyway. This will sting the first few times until soon you discover the freedom and peace that comes from continuing to scroll.
Delete It All
For centuries we kept in contact with family through snail mail and phone calls. You don’t “have to have” Facebook to stay connected to friends and family. If social media is going to cause you anxiety, anger, and bitterness, damaging relationships with people around you, consider deleting it. I will bet that you find yourself in a more peaceful place, focusing on the most important relationships in your life. My guess is after about a week of social detox, you probably won’t even miss social media.
Stop Over spiritualizing Your Fear/Anger
When you leave a comment like, “Anyone who does ‘X’ is clearly a __________,” you aren’t edifying, encouraging. You definitely aren’t being light in a dark world. You are simply masking your fear about that particular topic through anger. Your comment isn’t coming across as wisdom. It’s coming across as prideful and arrogant.
Stop spiritualizing it and acting as if you are doing the Lord’s work. Admit that might be a topic that scares you, that you have little information or knowledge about and refuse to comment anything at all. But for the sake of the Kingdom, please stop spiritualizing your fear, anger and hatred online and pretending to be Christ’s keyboard warrior.
Digital Is Ministry
Sometimes it’s hard to see outside the bubbles we have created for ourselves. May I encourage you to find some faithful, Christian friends and ministers who are working hard to make the digital space one where digital missionaries and disciple makers flourish. Follow and learn from my friend, Tom Pounder, and his work with Digital Bootcamp. Or you can follow another friend, Jeff Reed, over at Being the Church Online. Learn, grow, mature and treat your online presence like a ministry.
Take It Offline
When you disagree with someone’s post online, instead of starting a debate in the comment section, invite them out to eat. Get to know them. Ask them their story. Share your story. Even if you still end up disagreeing with that person on a topic, you will have saved the relationship. I see too many Christian relationships crumble at the altar of the keyboard warriors. It’s incredibly sad.
The question you must answer is: do you want to earn the right to be given the opportunity to share the Gospel with someone or would you prefer to be right about a current political topic? Based on what I see on social media many days, I would say that question is a lot harder to answer for many Christians than it should be.
Simplify your connections
Delete it all
Stop over spiritualizing
See digital as a ministry space
Take it offline
To be honest, I don’t know if Jesus would have a social media account or not. He regularly pushed off popularity and taught difficult things purposefully to thin out His followers down to the most committed ones. That doesn’t scream, “I need to grow my brand.” Regardless, I am convinced if Jesus were online with us, He would share the same principles with us now that He shared with His disciples 2000 years ago.
You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father. [Matthew 5:14, 16 NLT]
What tips would you add for using digital and social media presence well for your disciple making efforts?
Source: Oh Be Careful Little Hands