Posted by: pastortomvabeach | August 10, 2018

Thought for the Week August 12, 2018

Last week I posted the first part of an article by Jarrod Jones, the pastor of Grace Community Church, in New York, called 6 Things You Need To Do Before Posting On Social Media. It a kind of guideline or guardrail for keeping our integrity and continuing to be able to Make Jesus Known with those who read our posts. This is the second part followed by some of my own thoughts.

“4. Don’t be hypocritical: Before you post, comment, or share, would you say the same to the person face-to-face? Would you be willing to take time to understand them, their perspective, and struggle? In our day, if people share a difference of opinion on a hot-button topic on social media, it’s no longer a disagreement. Rather, it’s cause for self-righteous judgment, hate, and venom. The conversation then gets shut-down by vilifying the other person while ducking down into the anonymity or safety of social media. Even Christians say mean things on social media they would never say in public or person to person. Heed the words of the apostle James: If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. (James 1:26).

“Also, are you displaying false courage? It’s easy to make a stand on social media, especially in one’s own echo chamber. After all, what’s the goal you’re after by your social media stand? And does it really make a difference? Is it worth it? Is social media really the proper place? Do you have a plan of action outside of social media? Are you posting/commenting/sharing on social media what might be perceived as polarizing and hurtful content by friends in other communities? What about friends of another ethnicity, in law enforcement, of another sexual identity, or anyone else? Are you being, well, two-faced? Might your online presence be cutting their heart one moment, only to then offer smiles and hugs to those same friends when you see them personally?

”5. Build up, don’t beat up: Let no harmful language come from your mouth, only good words that are helpful in meeting the need, words that will benefit those who hear them. (Ephesians 4:29). Are your words helpful or harmful? Beneficial or berating? Good or gross? Inspiring or tiring? Encouraging or agitating?

“By the way, these lead-in words and phrases do not count as helpful: ‘Don’t mean to offend, but…I’m not racist, but…Not saying I agree, but…’ This is like leaning in with a kiss, only to follow with a slap. If you follow with a ‘but’ you have canceled everything before it. It’s insincere, deceitful, and a bait and switch. The Apostle Paul declared, In all that you do, whether you eat or drink, do so unto the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31). Are you glorifying God with what you post on social media?

”6. Pray: I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. (1 Timothy 2:1-3). ‘First of all.’ Do you take time to pray before you post/comment/share to social media? Do you pray for the person before you respond to them on social media? Me neither. John Piper said, ‘One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove on the last day that our prayerlessness was not from lack of time!’ Ouch. I would add, not just prayerlessness in general, but especially prayerlessness regarding our Twitter and Facebook, too.

”Why all the bother? Why the bother of this post? At the end of the day, Jesus died to bring us peace—peace with God, peace in our hearts, and peace with others. If he bothered enough to go to these lengths for you and me, so to we should bother to do the same. Our Christian testimony and family unity are at stake—with each other, and before a non-Christian world. May our social media be a commercial of our relationship with God and the family love, care, and unity we show each other.

I’ll end with a great Scripture, easy to memorize, and tremendously helpful for our social media lives. Perhaps make this your screensaver: Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3). Let’s not be fools. Whether we have something to say, or before we have to say something, let’s pray: Set a guard over my fingertips, Lord; keep watch over the door of my social media. Amen.”

That’s Pastor Jarrod’s six things. I find them very helpful. I have always thought that one must be extremely cautious about posting or reposting anything that may appear to be derogatory or hurtful towards another person or group of people. When you think about it, many of the political, ethnic, and even, religious posts that find their way to Facebook or other social media either insult or offend those the one posting disagrees with or indirectly implies there is something wrong with them. I have personally shied away from sharing almost all political posts whether I agree with them or not.

I try to limit what I share to items that will be encouraging and uplifting or that will really demonstrate God’s goodness and love. I do share some things that are just plain funny and not in any way controversial (I hope). Anyway, what kind of guardrails do you use on social media? None? Any? I like that verse Jarrod mentioned, Let no harmful language come from your mouth, only good words that are helpful in meeting the need, words that will benefit those who hear them. (Ephesians 4:29). May that be our watchword with social media. More to think about! God bless.

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