It is a serious question, what would Jesus tweet? What would He tweet? What kind of status would He post on Facebook? What kind of pictures would Jesus put on Instagram? What would He pin on His board on Pinterest? What GIFs would he put on His Tublr account?
I have thought about this a lot lately. Social media is an opportunity to touch more people with one post than most of us will talk with on any day, maybe the whole week. It is a great opportunity for people of faith. How do we honor in God in social media?
Some times Paul would say, “I don’t have a direct Word from the Lord on this, but here is what I think.” So that’s where I am today. Social media is one of those things that is not specifically covered in the Bible. It would be easier if it were. “Thou shall not invite people to play Farmville.” That could have saved us all a lot of trouble. I do think that the Scripture certainly gives us guidelines that are applicable here. We just have to understand how to use them.
One of the things I think is important is Encouraging Speech. The Bible talks about this a lot. Jesus demonstrated this. What if every update on social media we thought about what God thinks about it? Do our words honor Him or do they encourage others? We have all seen posts that tear down people. As a follower of Jesus we need to think about appropriate speech. Don’t think of your post as going out into vast space. Think of the people who will read it. A kind comment can make a huge difference. Something as simple as wishing someone a Happy Birthday could change their whole day. Think of how it will affect others.
I think we need to be careful about Judgmental Speech. I have read some very harsh and cruel things about people in social media. Isn’t one of the problems people have with Christianity is that they think we are all judgmental? Social media is a place to prove that caricature wrong. It is an opportunity to show people that as followers of Jesus we are a people of grace. A lot of people are hurting. There are so many opportunities to encourage instead of judge or condemn.
I think it is important to post things that are true. Seriously, I cannot believe some of the things that people post. I am going to vent a little. This one is my pet peeve. It is the post that I see on Facebook a few times a year. It talks about how terrible the schools have gotten and how bad the kids behave now that they have stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. Then about 50 people comment on it and talk about how when they were in school they said the pledge every morning. “That’s why kids today have no respect.” Fact Check. They still say the pledge every morning in public school. There may be a classroom somewhere where they don’t. But I know a lot of teachers in a lot of different states. They all say the pledge every morning. Don’t believe everything you read on Facebook. Only Tumblr is infallible.
The last suggestion I will make is to take a Digital Sabbath. Anything can become an obsession and certainly social media can. Maybe you could take a break from 6 or 7 pm till 9 or 10 in the evenings so you can spend some family time together. Maybe one day a week you refrain from social media. You have to decide. We all need a break from social media from time to time. We need to communicate with another human being that we can actually look at face to face while we talk with them.
At any rate it is something to think about. Do you have some guidelines you use as a follower of Jesus on social media? If you do, I would love to hear them.