The Christian and Social Media!

The Christian and Social Media!

The Christian and Social Media!
June 27, 2018

Table Of Contents

After the evening service one Sunday evening, my family and I were driving home from church and as it often happens we got involved in a discussion about current events in our country. Our children are all in their twenties, so the discussion had a younger generational twist to it. After a few interesting turns, we ended up discussing an incident that went viral on social media. The incident involved an individual, but because of the enormous platform social media provides, this incident became a catalyst for attacks on groups of people rather than a discussion about the individual. People who identified themselves as “Christian” also got involved in the subsequent “Social Media War” and they mostly followed the direction of the majority.  

The world is changing rapidly, the question is: “Are we ready for this new world?” Is the church a “prophetic voice” to a generation that is facing an enormous crisis?

The seriousness of the crisis became real to me when I was confronted with responses to certain social media posts by people who profess to be “Christians”.  Dave Rubin said in an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News (6/2018): “Twitter can be quite horrific”. He also added that social media is becoming a toxic nightmare. Besides being a toxic nightmare, social media is becoming an ever-expanding platform for “Social Media Warriors” to use any means possible to win an argument.   

A disturbing reality is that many “Social Media Warriors” go about their business without having to face the discipline of a local Church because they are “invisible”. Before the era of Social Media, individuals who acted the way these “Keyboard Warriors” are acting today, were disciplined by their local churches. Unfortunately, we are facing the sad reality that “Social Media Warriors” are fighting their battles in “stealth mode”. Anonymous “Keyboard Warriors” go about their business of spreading gossip and even slandering innocent individuals from the “security” of their homes. They will not say those things in public or at the church, yet they use their invisibility to lash out in an un-biblical, unethical and unacceptable manner.

A question I’ve been asking myself lately is this: “Could there be a correlation between the increased tensions we experience among people groups in the church today and the increase of users who abuse “Social Media platforms” to spread hate, anger, lies, blasphemy, narcissism, envy, etc? When we look at Christianity, could there be a correlation between the division we are seeing among Christians and the “Social Media Drug” which is intoxicating society at an ever-increasing rate?

Scripture teaches that the unregenerate heart is capable of all kinds of evil. It is only by God’s grace that an unregenerate sinner is transformed into a brand-new person which reflects the character of Christ Jesus more and more every day. When I think of social media in the hands of the unregenerate, it causes a chill down my spine. When I look at the trend among so called Christian “Social Media Warriors” today, I am remined of the words of the apostle Paul to the Church at Corinth when he wrote: “I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:1-3)

The apostle felt a divine jealousy for the believers in Corinth because he betrothed them to Christ as a pure virgin. They were supposed to understand what Christ’s death, burial and resurrection accomplished for them. They could live victorious over sin in all aspects of their lives because Christ regenerated them. They were able to be examples to everyone around them of the transforming power of Christ through the Gospel. Instead, Paul feared that they would be deceived by Satan’s cunning and their thoughts be led astray from living for Christ. What is being said on Social Media resembles what happened in the church at Corinth. Has the serpent deceived this generation by his cunning, to the point where their thoughts are no longer focused on living a life of pure devotion to Christ? Have the thoughts of this generation been led astray to such an extent that Christian living is left at the door when “Christian Keyboard Warriors” enter the Social Media Battle Ground? Believers are called to be light in the dark social media world, they are not supposed to join the works of darkness instead they should expose it.

There is an ever-increasing trend in society today which I find appalling. It seems as if rudeness and disrespect is the norm of today’s society. Have you been in a conversation with someone where the person received a message and looked at it or even answered the message while you were still speaking?

Not too long ago, the television was the greatest obstacle when visiting church members. You had to choose the right time not to intrude on the family’s favourite soap-opera. Today it is cell-phones with its instant access to social media. Nearly “everyone” is connected to “everyone” else. The “scary” part of this new connectivity is that people who did not have a voice in the past can now add their useless ideas to the comments section for anyone to read.

Lately, I’ve been reading some articles and responses to those articles and I’ve noticed that stereotyping is also becoming an ever-increasing method employed by “Keyboard Warriors” to attack their opponents. The world believes they are correct when they say: “Attack is the best means of defence.” The Christian response is: “True Christian love and decency toward my enemy is the Biblical means of defence”.  What is shocking is the kind of stereotyping which is being employed by self-professing Christian “Keyboard Warriors”. They are “rude”, “heartless” and even “loveless”.

There are instances when a group make bad choices. Instead of stereotyping the group, there need to be a call on each individual to allow the Holy Spirit to examine them and expose their sin. Once they acknowledge their sin they need to repent and walk in holiness.

Stereotyping leads to people making assumptions about an entire group based on the action or inaction of certain individuals within that group. Assumptions of certain bad conduct can be true of some individuals, but it can never be true of everyone. We need to remember that people are individuals and they make individual choices. Some choices are good, others are bad. What people do and how they act should be addressed on an individual basis.

I’m not very familiar with social media, but I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among professing Christians. They are becoming “insensitive” and even “hostile” toward other professing Christians. It seems as if they have now started using a one shoe fits all approach. A whole group of people will be “slandered” for the wrong doing of an individual.

I could never understand the logic why our whole class at school were punished because some individuals misbehaved. During basic training in the army a similar approach was followed when the whole platoon was punished when one of the soldiers messed up. Individual responsibility is thrown out the door and the group get blamed for the sin of an individual. “Corporate responsibility” for the sin of individuals are becoming an ever-increasing problem in society.

We read in the letter of the apostle Paul to the Ephesians that he urges believers to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). In verse 2 the apostle urges the Ephesian believers to bear with one another in all humility and gentleness, with patience and in love. Unity within the body of Christ is something which is maintained by members who act towards one another with humility and in a gentle spirit. Unity is maintained when members show patience and love in their interaction with one another. In the impersonal, anonymous world of social media we are confronted with an attitude of “selfish pride”, “unkindness”, “impatience” and even “hate”.

The Unscriptural activities of some “Keyboard Warriors” on social media is counterproductive, and it cuts at the heart of the unity we have in Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit unites all believers, but as Paul instructed, we need to eagerly maintain that unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

May we eagerly strive to maintain the unity of the Spirit. It can only be accomplished when we love each individual and in love step out with caution to help individuals make good, wholesome, Biblical choices which will glorify God the Father, exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and maintain our unity through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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