Just Log Off: Is social media ruining your witness for Christ?
Article By Cameron McGhee // Social Media // EEW Magazine
There are a lot of pastors, recording artists, women’s ministry leaders, and even celebrities I admired a whole lot more—that is, before scrolling down their social media feeds.
Some of the most asinine, vitriolic, self-indulgent posts come from people who say they represent Christ. I can’t help thinking, if they are actually a Kingdom ambassador, they must clock out when they hop online.
All the time I see “sold out to Jesus” believers insulting someone’s looks or talents for clicks and likes; celebrating public figures with lifestyles that undermine the principles of their faith; getting into politically charged debates that end in insults and cheap shots; bullying others that don’t share their views on political issues, racism, and social justice; laughing at and sharing immature, even crass, humor; and behaving like the mob of other non-Christian folks that slam and “drag” the people they dislike.
Please, stop it!
Some of us would do well just to log off the Internet period. Go pray. Read your word. Volunteer at a local charity. Do some soul-searching. Stop trying to fix what’s wrong with the world on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube. Instead of picking someone else apart online, work on getting yourself together offline.
Ask God, where do I need to grow, develop and change? If you don’t do that, social media will ruin your witness for Christ.
Sadly, I fear that the more connected to social media we become as a society, the more disconnected we become from God and each other. It seems like everybody—believers and non-believers—has gone temporarily insane. Even journalists that previously prided themselves on being as unbiased and objective as possible have amplified their personal feelings and opinions above the news.
In a New York Times piece, reporter Farhad Manjoo admonished his fellow journalists to consider “disengaging from the daily rhythms of Twitter, the world’s most damaging social network.”
With all the back-and-forth, fake outrage of the day, and hashtag activism, he points out that it’s easy to lose one’s way and misrepresent oneself.
Manjoo argues that we are becoming “knee-jerk outrage-bots reflexively set off by this or that hash-tagged cause.” He adds that Twitter “prizes image over substance and cheap dunks over reasoned debate.”
Jumping to conclusions and reacting with no factual basis for those reactions is not the exception, but rather, the rule these days online.
This cycle needs to end, especially for those who are of the household of faith.
Snapping at others, “reading them for filth” so-to-speak, and clapping back goes completely against the Bible’s prescription for engaging others. We are to be swift to hear and slow to speak (James 1:19).
Also, all the sparring over issues that turns into ugly, vicious wars of words on the Internet, flies in the face of the biblical command of Colossians 4:6: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
If you are guilty of acting out online, let one of your 2019 goals be to clean up your image, and avoid spilling emotions, and opinions all over your Internet feed. Your witness for Christ is at stake.
And if you find yourself frequently flying off the handle instead of measuring your words when weighing in on controversy, here’s a great suggestion for you courtesy of a portion of 1 Thessalonians 4:11: “…mind your own business.”
Cameron McGhee is a staff writer for EEW Magazine. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband Randall and their dog, Beau.