6. Love = Telling the truth. …In love. Is a status update artfully alighting upon all my strengths the same as telling the truth? Like a camera, we all choose what we zoom in on. But is it possible we’re airbrushing our lives, and creating a climate of unnatural expectations? (Check out this post on perfectionism vs. pursuing excellence.) Though we may look for sympathy when our kid smears poop on the wall or throws a fit in Target’s housewares aisle, our lives on social media generally lean toward the photoshopped side of things.
We might also justify “telling the truth”—but subtracting some of the grace, which—take it from a writer—can be pretty stinkin’ hard when you don’t know what frame of mind someone will bring to the table when Facebook pops up. Fox News commentator AndreaTantaros writes,
Just because you’re being real doesn’t mean you aren’t being a real jerk. You can be authentically wrong. I realized that my potency is something I needed to be acutely aware of and something to apply selectively.
There are a bunch of people reading my feed—and writing, even for a writer, is a remarkably turbo-charged method to screw up a relationship. (Personally, I take my husband’s advice of saving all conflict, as far as it depends on me, for a face-to-face meeting; no written word allowed.)
P.S. This post was also helpful to me: How Should Christians comment online?
7. God needs to be present in social media, too. I commended friends of mine recently whose son is slowly making his way in the film arts. A lot of Christian parents I know would be wary of their children entering the arts professionally for both financial and cultural reasons. Unfortunately, there’s a vacuum in this field—and trust me, our entertainment industry is our greatest export from the U.S.
I talk in this post about “plundering the Egyptians”—turning things that the world uses to enslave us into tools God uses. As Christians, we can’t afford to step away from social media either. We need light so desperately there, too.
But it’s challenging to do this well. Colossians 4 says,
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Everyone’s got different questions they’re asking about faith, different biases from past experiences, different phrases that jar them or encourage them. Loving well in social media means deep sensitivity to this. In his recent post, Do Not Add to the Offense of the Gospel, R.C. Sproul writes,
People are extremely sensitive about how they’re approached on matters of religion. Many of us who are so excited about our faith in Christ want to share it with everyone we love, and our intentions are good…But…so often we come across to these people as saying, in attitude if not in words, “I’m good and you’re not.” People are turned off by that, and rightly so….
Many more times people get angry not because they’re offended by Christ but because they’re offended by our insensitivity toward them as people.
8. Don’t let it sap your depth. Social media can saturate us with the inane–from “here’s me eating goulash” to “my cat has been sick for three weeks” to “check out this video of a guy dancing with his gerbil!” Of course life’s full of the mundane and commonplace, and social media is sometimes going to mean the Gerbil Guy gets 3 million hits. (Um. I made him up, just in case you’re hopping over to YouTube now.)
I’m not saying our lives need to be so uber-intentional that we can’t laugh till Sprite comes out our nose, or that we can’t “friend” a Facebook page that only posts cat jokes. But the superficial, the self-absorbed, and the meaningless can chomp up our lives and time. Our minds are being trained into the equivalent of Brain Cheetos–mostly air, with a little sticky cheese powder thrown in for (fake) flavor.
We’re cautioned in Ephesians to make the best use of the time, for the days are evil. As I mentioned Wednesday, worship’s about getting stuff in its proper place, social media included. Consider whether your social media’s driving you further into enjoyment of God–or further away–and what amount of time helps you be faithful to the rest of your life. Then have some fun with your Brain Cheetos.
Ready for the SOCIAL MEDIA GIVEAWAY?
Hop on over to A Generous Grace’s Facebook page, and leave a comment on this post before Monday, 24 October, 2016.
I’ll message one of you as a winner–and e-mail you a free $5 Starbucks card!
Thanks for sharing, following, and commenting, and helping A Generous Grace reach more readers.
HELP US OUT! How do you keep control over your social media–and not the other way around?
Please comment below!
Like this post? You might like
- How would Jesus tweet? Social Media as Love, Parts I and II
- In praise of a culture that walks–or, why I waited to get an iPhone
- How we’re gaining control of screen time, step by step (with FREE printable!)
- Just Right: Perfectionism vs. the Pursuit of Excellence
- Under Pressure: Militant Mommy Convictions vs. Authentic Friendship