By Chris Whigham, LPC Media Guy
I’d like to talk for a minute to my fellow Christians. Not a believer? You’re welcome to read on, but I’m really directing these thoughts to those who would call themselves brothers and sisters in Christ.
After we pack up the equipment and shut the church doors following a Sunday morning service, I spend the next 7 days living in the world of social media, helping my clients be seen. It sounds like a fun job, right? Well, it is. But there is a dark side to this career I’ve chosen: I have to spend all day on social media.
It seems like it was just a few years ago when we would meet face-to-face in coffee shops, restaurants and other hangouts to discuss the day’s events. And when the discussions turned to politics and other unsavory topics, we could open a civil debate. Well, more times than not it was civil! And at the end of the day, we could hug-it-out and go on our separate ways, with the knowledge that yes, we did have differences, but remained friends and loving family, nonetheless.
Wow have the times changed.
From early morning to late at night, Facebook and Twitter are crammed with harsh, vicious and scathing posts and comments, condemning one side or another. It’s as if those days of civil debate in a coffee shop have given way to Thunderdome (a Mad Max reference for you non-movie buffs…” Two men enter, one man leaves.”).
And can I tell you who some of the worst perpetrators of these social media batterings are? Democrats? Republicans? Nope.
Yes, I said it. Christians. I see it every single day. A Christian will post a verse on Facebook in the morning about God’s love and forgiveness, but by midday are posting hateful comments about their fellow man who may happen to be a democrat, or a republican, or support “the wrong cause”, or may be boycotting a place/movie/restaurant they don’t agree with.
And I’m not pointing fingers outward. I used to be this way, as well. I just had to have my opinion heard about everything. And I did not care who I ran over in the process. The “Submit Comment” button was my weapon of choice. And a price was paid for my hubris.
I noticed I was losing social media friends because of my opinion. Lots of them. And when I sat back and thought about who they were, and some of the posts I had seen them write (about losing jobs, family deaths, money woes, etc.), I realized that I lost an opportunity to love on them, to show them care and attention, to possibly let them know about how the love of Jesus Christ can help them through the good times, and the bad. I did just the opposite of The Great Commission (Matthew 28: 16-20), and in doing so, did the opposite of what Christ commanded Christians to do.
And that is a shame.
Here’s a candid question: Is it more important for you to let somebody on social media know how you feel about politics, or is it more important to try to bring some kindness and laughter into their lives?
Wouldn’t be horrible to find out that someone really needed to hear your testimony about God’s greatness in your life, but it was too late because you’ve lost all respect in their eyes due to your opinions on social media? Why risk it?
There may be a day when something you say on social media could change (or even save) someone’s life. Don’t let that opportunity slip away because you can’t wait to tell somebody off.
Because that somebody is a real person. With real feelings. And real issues.
I give you a challenge: If you are someone that calls yourself a Christian, take a week off from posting harsh comments on social media. Instead, try to bring some light to what has become a dark tunnel. I promise, you will feel better about yourself, and your friends will feel better about you.
Try not to be the hypocrite everyone thinks we are.
(End note: if you are a non-believer and read through to the end… thanks! I encourage you to try the one week challenge as well!)