Friday, January 25, 2013

Social Media according to the Bible

A reader emailed in with this request:

Could you do a blog or something on how Christians should be handling Facebook and Twitter and social media?

That seemed like a really good idea, as social media has given each of us a louder voice and therefore much more power. And, as Uncle Ben would say, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

So how do Christians responsibly use the power of social media? Luckily, there is a book that answers that question for us. It’s called the Bible.
Jesus on Facebook

The Bible and Social Media
How can a book written millennia before the internet even existed have anything to say about social media?

The Bible actually has a lot to say on the subject, because it talks extensively about how we are to communicate and relate to people. Try looking up the word “tongue” for starters; it occurs 137 times in the Bible, and almost all of them have to do with speaking. For example:

  • When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. – Proverbs 10:19
  • A man of knowledge uses words with restraint…Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. – Proverbs 17:27-28
  • He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. – Proverbs 21:23
 And there are many other verses that likewise have reminded me, at various times, to shut up.

A Time to Speak
But that is clearly not the whole story. We are also called to tell the good news (Romans 10:14-15), to demolish arguments (2 Corinthians 10:5), and to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

  • Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9
  • The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. – Proverbs 18:17
  • Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. – Colossians 4:5-6
So we are to make the most of the opportunity we have online—which means we should say something—but we have to be careful what we say.

Social Media Tips
Let’s get practical. Here are some specific tips for how to use social media for Jesus:

  • Be intentional. Saying something on social media is roughly the equivalent of standing up and announcing it to a room of 500 people. Now, maybe you really would announce to such a crowd that “These Dorito tacos are amazing!” After all, they are pretty good. But don’t neglect the power of that platform to also say something truly important. (“This Jesus is amazing!”)
  • Be clear. As much as 90% of face-to-face communication is nonverbal, conveyed through body language or tone of voice. You lose all of that online (unless you are posting a video). To make sure you are not misunderstood, think before you type (James 1:19).
  • Watch your language. Your non-believing friends might not get the message if you speak in Christianese.
  • Don’t argue in the comments section. It just doesn’t seem to do any good. Online arguments rarely ever cause anyone to change their position, and they tend to be much less civil than if the same people were having the same discussion in person. (2 Timothy 2:23-25)
  • Connect with people personally. Most social media posts are broadcast to no one in particular. A personal, one-on-one message or conversation is much more powerful.
  • Be a true friend. Sometimes people share very personal things, or red flags, on social websites. This is a chance for you to reach out personally and show the love of Christ (John 13:34-35).
  • Live it out. None of this should be that much different than what you are doing offline. And social media makes our lives today very public; if what you say doesn’t match up with what you do, people will see right through it (and have the pictures to prove it). It is not about using social media to present your life in a favorable light, but rather living your life in a light-filled way (Ephesians 5:8-16).
What have you found that works (or does not work) on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thursday, January 24, 2013



At the beginning of this year, I sat down to shepherd myself, I decided to come up with a group of questions that I could ask myself EVERY DAY to evaluate how I am abiding with the One I profess to follow.  It all starts with daily learning more of Jesus and His ways and continually yielding to His Spirit which dwells in all who believe.  My deep conviction is that as our lives increasingly have full and meaningful answers to the following questions our lives will increase in joy, fullness and serve as a greater source of glory to our King.  I am sure you can improve on my list of questions, but as for me and my house, we are going to purpose to improve our ability to faithfully answer them every day (Matt 6:33-34).  Feel free to add your own….but in all your adding stay focused on using them to sharpen each day the Lord gifts you (Psalm 90:12). Hope you are encouraged!

What have you done to grow in wisdom and stature today?
What do you know today about God, His Word or His purposes that you did not know yesterday?
What are you going to do differently as a result of what you have learned?
1 Tim 4:7; James 1:22

How is this world or are others better today because you have stepped up and been God’s servant?
When you showed up, how was evil restrained, injustice conquered, love multiplied, captives rescued and/or joy increased.
Luke 4:16-21

What have you done today to make someone else know of God’s great love for them?  Has your motivation for everything been love of God and others?
“May this small act of kindness remind you of God’s great love for you.”
1 Cor 13:1

Have you laughed out loud today?
Have you laughed uncontrollably?
Have you laughed till you cried?
Have you made others laugh much today?
Prov 17:22

LIVE generously:
How have you shown generosity today?  Who is better off because God stewarded you with His resources?
2 Cor 8:9
LIVE with gratitude:
How have you expressed a heart filled with Thanksgiving today for the multitude of blessings you have received?
Eph 5:20;

LIFT others up:
Who have you encouraged today with a word, a phone call, an email, a text, a note or a card?
Heb 3:13

LEAN on others:
Who are you relying on to spur you on?  Confront you? Shepherd you?
Who has access to your heart? Who faithfully reproves you?  Sharpens you?  Admonishes you when you are unruly?
When is the last time you repented and changed because someone who loves you “smote you in kindness”.
Ps 141:5; Pr 13:20

LIVE it all by faith (by yielding to the Spirit):
What have you done today that only makes sense because you believe and depend on the grace of Christ and the resurrection of the dead?
Have you lived today by faith, in the power of and in constant relationship with the Spirit?
Col 1:29; Eph 5:18