Christians on Social Media

So, there I was on Facebook reading everyone’s political, polemic, and posturing posts. I have SO much I’d like to say in response to some of these inane comments. But just as I was about to type some responses a flood of scriptures came to my mind and I basically switched pages and went to Pinterest to look at karate and core workout clips.

As I continue to deepen my faith walk with Jesus, I find that I am more and more restrained when it comes to worldly things as I fix my eyes on heavenly things. And in doing so I see the world very differently than I did in the past when I was one of those “Christians” who engaged the world just like non-Christians.

I want to share with you the scriptures with which the Holy Spirit subdued me and how I think all Christians should approach social media and every relationship they have.

As Christians I believe God gives us a litmus test to determine if we are walking in His will or our own. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us this: “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.” In other words, when you have the spirit of God in you, you will exhibit these nine characteristics if you are walking in God’s will.

Dear brother and sister in Christ, ask yourself this question: Are your social media posts and comments you make about people showing:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Forbearance (patience)
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control

Another scripture the Holy Spirit brought to my mind was this: “22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Matthew 5:22

This is a pretty good explanation from GotQuestions.org:

Matthew 5:22 is the only passage in the Bible where the term raca is used. Raca comes from the Aramaic term reqa. It was a derogatory expression meaning ‘empty-headed,’ insinuating a person’s stupidity or inferiority. It was an offensive name used to show utter contempt for another person. Jesus warned that the use of such a word to describe someone was tantamount to murder and deserving of the severest punishment of the law.”

Next question to ask yourself: Have you ever in your social media posts or comments about people called someone racca or a fool or insinuated someone’s stupidity or inferiority or shown someone utter contempt? If so, Jesus tells us that you are in danger of the fire of hell!

Here’s another scripture that came to mind: “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45b. The Holy Spirit then tied that verse to a couple in James 3:

“ The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” James 3:6

“9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” James 3:9

Then came 1 John 4:20: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”

Put all these verses together and God is saying you have to watch your tongue because your heart is evil and you will speak wrongly against your brother/sisters who, like you, is made in God’s image. You will do all the things Jesus told you not to do: Judge, Boast, Belittle, Disregard, Take Offense, and Hate.

Next question: Do you feel as if your social media posts and comments about people are in line with God’s commands or are you speaking evil from the overflow of your heart?

I am a disciple of Jesus and my Rabbi tells me that I am to speak the truth in love. In other words, I can, indeed, engage in any and every conversation regarding current events but when I do so I am commanded to do so in a loving manner.

Paul puts it this way: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1

In other words, if you’re not loving the people, you’re talking about you’re just flat wrong.

I hear your argument already! These people are evil! They deserve to be held accountable! You’re just telling the truth about them!

Hmm…

Did Jesus do that?

Jesus had His moments when He was harsh toward people. But his criticism and verbal onslaught was against the religious leaders – those who were called by God and entrusted to handle God’s word and were doing it wrong. James tells us, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1. Jesus’ judgment of the pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes was just because of their anointed positions. Jesus was harsh toward those who desecrated the Temple as well. Mess with God’s stuff and Jesus would stomp you! Do worldly things and He let those things play out. Remember His words?

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:4-14

What is our role on social media and holding others accountable? Let’s turn again to scripture!

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. (Luke 6:31)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29-32)

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10)

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles. (Proverbs 24:17)

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12-14)

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:35-36)

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (James 1:19)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? … (Matthew 5:3-48)

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.’ (John 15:12)

Yeah, I’m pounding you with scripture but that’s the point! Over and over and over again God tells us that we are to love our neighbors – even the bad ones! We are to show grace and mercy. We are not to judge but bear with others forgiving at every turn. We are to speak words of encouragement and be peacemakers (Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God – Matthew 5:9).

Last question: Are you going to follow the commands of God when it comes to what you say and how you say it or are you going to make excuses and justify your actions and ignore God’s commands because it doesn’t fit your agenda?

There’s a great word in the English language that fits here.

YIELD

John the Baptist said that he had to become less, and Jesus had to become more. For every single one of us who follow Jesus that is a truth that we must live out. And that means we need to yield to Jesus and His commands.

Yeah, it’s hard. I struggle with it as much as the next guy. But if you truly want to be like Christ and that’s not just some churchy platitude in your life then you have to start by dying to yourself and your will and surrender yourself to Jesus’ will.

Thus, you probably won’t see me on social media calling someone “Karen” or disparaging the character of political leaders or labeling groups of people and certainly not saying raca to anyone!  You will, however, see me call for people to follow Jesus because He is the only way, truth, and life that will heal our hearts and our nation.

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