More questions than answers
Are you using your voice to stand out as a follower of Jesus? Is social media the best way to use your voice?
Social media provides worldwide access. But is it a good platform to use for evangelism, or is it merely easy — and tacky — advertising?
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. He who is wise wins souls.” (Proverbs 11:30)
So then, let us be wise, discerning the best way to live our lives as followers of Jesus to share the message of his grace, love, forgiveness and salvation.
Let us look at social media as a platform to consider whether it is a useful tool or a time-consuming distraction for the followers of Jesus.
Social Media as a means to share: is it good or bad?
“Using our voices” as Christians/followers of Jesus used to mean evangelism. On social media I have seen some great posts, but often I’m not sure of the intention of the sender. Images with scripture or loving words share the goodness and love of GOD, sometimes directly highlighting Yehovah as creator of the Universe or His son, Jesus as the Saviour of the World. Such posts share the wholesomeness of life, and offer a scent of what is right and best for the world from the Christian perspective. Through social media there is a lot of earnest posting using encouraging words, Biblical scripture with images of nature or prayerful folk, and thoughtful viewpoints expressing the goodness of GOD. But is that evangelism? Is that fulfilling the “Great Commission” of Matthew 28?
I wonder how well does this work as Godly evangelism? Is it effective spiritually, or is it feel-good inspiration to feed the flesh: ours, so that we think we’re doing our part to share Jesus, and the reader’s, so he or she feels good: hopeful, and happy?
Paul said of his enemies, whether the gospel is preached by them or by him, even if their motives are for self, what does it matter as long as the gospel is being preached. So be it.
The world’s attitude to Christianity
Although Judea-Christian values are what Western Society has been built upon, modern and contemporary governments and societies have rejected Jesus, and the bedrock on which societies’ laws have been based. Laws are changing dramatically and rapidly; as a result, civil discussion and relationships have already divided into two camps: liberalism and traditionalism. Furthermore, toward the extreme ends of each, a polarisation has occurred, with each side accusing the other of fascism, totalitarianism, ignorance and ignoring democracy. Either their definitions differ or their preconceptions of the “other side’s” point of view are in error.
I believe we who hold the message of salvation through Jesus need to share our understanding of Biblical scripture and share our relationship with GOD. But the Christian message seems to have become buried under the socio-political dichotomy of liberalism
vs conservatism. This tension does not translate into a message compatible with peace and love and salvation through Jesus/Yeshua.
Do we want to be caught up in such contention? In fact, Romans 1 lists strife as one of many attributes that are “deserving of death” (Genesis 1:29b).
Within a social media full of contention, can there be a useful and powerful vehicle for spreading the Gospel?
Caught in the midst of clashing political views (both on social media and in our physical society) is the Christian, who loves GOD, and seeks to love others. Collectively we are being attacked for holding traditional views. Unfortunately, the more liberal side of society does not seem to grasp the message of Jesus and within that group sit most of the main stream media. We are being misunderstood and labelled intolerant. We are being put into pigeonholes that the left considers “extreme right” and we are perceived as racist, homophobic, intolerant. The right wing seems to be gentler on us, but some of these people are themselves quite extreme, and do not necessarily hold views we’d want to be associated with; there is a strand who do sound bigoted, racist, angry at gays and immigrants.
As followers of Jesus, shouldn’t we be without judgement, as “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first”? (John 8:7) On the whole, I don’t think, we do judge; rather we do see a difference between a person’s behaviour which is sinful, and a person who is broken. While in previous centuries the Church did include professed Christians who were judgmental, but I think that pertains far less today. Current followers of Jesus more clearly recognise we are not to judge the world but rather we are to hold brothers and sisters in Christ to account.
Does how we are perceived by the world matter?
Do we like being lumped as “extreme right” bigots and anti-democratic because we believe, for example, that babies in the womb are human and should be treated as such? How do we respond when we hear of Christian parents losing the right to raise their own children because in some countries, social workers remove children from Christian homes because they disapprove of the Christian indoctrination of these children?
Certainly we are dismissed if not downright persecuted for our views as Christians, because of mis-perception — whether it be deliberate prejudice against us or the result of inadvertent misunderstanding of who we are and what we believe… (or more accurately, who Jesus is and what he calls us to). Such misinformation creates a barrier, which prevents proper communication and understanding.
How do we cope with prejudice?
Do we overcome prejudice and carry the Gospel message, risking persecution for the sake of the Gospel? Do we find a way to communicate which breaks down barriers and misunderstanding; are little memes and snippets of the Word useful? Or do messages through social media weaken the message of GOD’s power and love to a catch phrase or a cute image? Are we living the Gospel? Or have we as Christians been intimidated by Political Correctness?
I think Christian posting on social media attempts to break down the barriers between believer and non-believer. But is it effective, or is such posting an easy way to “do our job of evangelising” with minimal personal risk?
The power of liberalism to intimidate
What was once a societal push toward political correctness so as not to offend, seems to have morphed into an almost totalitarian message: kowtow to a liberal way of thinking or forfeit respect and employment… and perhaps even your children. We who fundamentally disagree with much of the liberal’s world view is certainly can feel bullied into silent submission.
So have we been affected by the PC brigade? Are we gently sharing the message of Love to a world that mostly isn’t listening? Have we watered down our evangelism so as not to offend? Social media definitely enables us to reach more people, but what is the message we are sharing? Is it worthwhile to post positive thinking, pretty images and scriptures?
Doesn’t it all boil down to our love, our courage, and our passion for Jesus and the lost.
Love, Love, Love. We seek to share this; it’s a part of our born again DNA. But are we able to demonstrate it through social media in a meaningful way? Is sharing through social media worthwhile?
I’m not sure it is GOD’s way. I used to think it was a “way in”. Now, I’m not so sure. Good ideas are not necessarily GOD’s ideas. Never more than today is our time a limited commodity. Everything is changing so fast, there’s no time to lose. And if Jesus really is coming soon, we need to do what we can, NOW.
Don’t we need to measure our time and make sure we are using it wisely?
So, why are we engaging on Social Media?
“Do you not know that friendship with man is enmity with GOD?” (James 4:4b)
If social media is a human construct, created by unbelievers, should believers be using it to share the message of the Gospel? If we don’t insert goodness, the platforms are full of hedonistic and self-gratifying carnal exchange. Yet, if we do post messages of love and hope, are we compromising for something far deeper: to lean on GOD rather than on our self-sufficiency?
How can we use social media to our best advantage?
Is this question even a godly question? Should we be thinking in terms of what our “best advantage” is?
Who’s instructions and tips are we following, when we’re seeking to get found on Google? Does the LORD can speak through secular people? Do you think He needs to speak through secular platforms?
Are we being unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14) if we are using social media?
We are not meant to live according to the knowledge of Good and Evil
In using social media are we partnering with the secular world. Does this weaken our authority? Is using social media an advantage or a diversion from ministry? It has been created to socialise us worldwide. And aren’t we called to preach the Gospel to all generations, to “make disciples of all the nations”? (Matthew 28:18) If so, then social media enables us to reach out most efficiently, doesn’t it?
Social media is a construct by which Google Translate has ensured language barriers are broken; we can share with anyone across the globe. How easy then, to reach the world with the Gospel message. However, when I think of the world wide web in that way, it echoes to me of a tower that was constructed several thousand years ago, the building of which so concerned GOD that it led him to introduce various languages, to frustrate human effort:
“Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 11:6-9)
Whether or not social media is good or bad is actually irrelevant, because we aren’t meant to make decisions based on whether something is good or not. Eve ate the forbidden fruit to gain that knowledge, and all hell has broken loose ever since.
But can some action based upon the knowledge of good vs evil be righteous? Are we meant to use vehicles in the world to evangelise, to “take back control of the airwaves”; or are we being swept up by the world’s ways and should we avoid using social media now because of the hurt it has been proven to cause?
Who builds the house?
The Word says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labour in vain who build it.” (Psalm 27:1)
For my life, it has boiled down to a matter of discipline. For me, social media distracts me from GOD. I’m not managing to build a garage, never mind a house!
What is our motive?
James 4:10 reads, “Humble yourself in the sight of the LORD and He will lift you up.”
If our motive for using social media is to be discovered, have our profile raised, make breakthrough on the internet, then I don’t think the LORD can use our posts effectively.
Rather, when we are fully surrendered to the Father, then He can use our time, skill, ability for His kingdom and the church of Jesus Christ.
What is our effectiveness?
Are we experiencing the LORD’s evangelism in the world through social media? Or are we a part of a network that shares gossip and causes strife? Are we following the devil’s way to win souls, and missing the ways and means GOD has for us?
I’m wondering if we who use social media to witness aren’t using an expedient way, a convenient way to reach out, when instead the better way would be to knuckle down in deep deep prayer to see how the LORD wants us to be His hands and feet.
This is a harder way, and a slower way, but if it’s the LORD’s way then it is the only way.
As I said in the title:
I’ve posed more questions than I have composed answers. Would you like to share your thoughts and experiences with me? (feel free to comment publicly below or for privacy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
May the LORD download His will into each of us, and give us the courage to surrender at every step.