Though its impact is much debated, social media – without a doubt – is a primary way our culture prefers to communicate.
In fact, statistics indicate that over half the world’s population (4.8 billion people) now uses social media.
Scripture, of course, was written long before the advent of Twitter, so we’ll look in vain to find passages that address its use – or any online platform.
Or will we?
True – we won’t find the prophets calling down fire on future Facebook users; what we will find, however, are passages that go to the very heart of their use.
In reality, these ideas cover all technological advances, addressing the way we’ll communicate with any tool.
For example, we’ve all seen the following on social media – though Scripture warns us against each and points us to a better way. (Note: The following list is from Rob Brockman’s helpful article):
1. Impulsive, knee-jerk posts: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” James 1:19-ff
2. Quarreling, stoking the fires of outrage. “…speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Titus 3:2
3. Gossip: “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” Prov. 16:28
4. Tearing down/seeking attention: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up…” Eph. 4:29
5. Disrespect: “…the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.” 2 Tim. 2:23-25
As citizens of two kingdoms (with our ultimate allegiance to the King of kings), we speak in this world as those who are being changed by grace – an outflow of ongoing repentance. It’s a movement from a self-centered focus to a selfless, outward focus that reflects the heart of Jesus himself.
Whatever tool we use, its popular use for the worship of self can be redeemed for love.
Think of Paul in Acts 17. He didn’t hesitate to leverage a common “platform” (the Areopagus) to discuss the popular altars of worship – even referencing the poets of his day to engage his culture with the true God:
“Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands… ‘‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”
Social media platforms are essentially an extension of our hearts, out of which the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34). Simply avoiding them altogether (which we may decide to do) doesn’t change the heart.
Rather it is “the grace of God [which] … teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…” See Titus 2:11-14
Seeing what Jesus has done and how he has loved us provides the heart-melting power to humbly engage our world, offer grace, and actually help us to build community.
In part 2, then, we’ll look specifically at how to include social media on your WordPress site.