Like all technology, these mediums can be used for good or evil. My wife, for example, was born and raised in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Her family still lives in Belo Horizonte and they speak Portuguese, but not English. To my shame I have not learned Portuguese, which obviously makes communication with my in-laws and her siblings extremely difficult (I know some of you may wish this was the case with your in-laws). But the cool thing is, through Facebook and Google Translate I can communicate with her family whenever I want. In fact just the other day her brother read one of my blogs and we talked about it through Facebook.
On the other hand, I see a lot of evil in these mediums too. I’m not just talking about things like the Ashley Madison scandal or terrorist networks. I’m talking about the way Christians often treat each other and those with opposing views in social media. The disrespect, name-calling, and fighting that goes on on these sites is simply disturbing.
So how should Christians handle social media, knowing its potential for both good and evil?
1. Speak the truth in love
Paul makes clear in his letter to the Ephesians that believers are to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). This is not an easy thing, but it is something that we all, as followers of Christ, must pursue. Some of us are great at showing love, but terrified of offending someone with the truth. While others are bastions of truth, but seem to lack any idea of what it means to show charity and love. Somehow we must find a way to do both or not enter into the discussion.
2. Build up, don’t tear down
If your intention in the comments section is just to criticize and tear down, then keep it to yourself. Paul says again in Ephesians, “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.” We should be grace-givers, whose goal is to build up.
It doesn’t mean you can’t engage in debate or disagreements. What it means is that your purpose in these debates is to love people, glorify God, and exalt the truth.
3. Check your heart
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to blast someone in the comments section because of a ridiculous post. You know what I’m talking about! I mean, I’ve thought of some pretty awesome comebacks. But then I check my heart and realize that, in that moment, it’s more about putting someone in their place, and the applause that would come from that, then it is about loving the person and loving the truth.
Much of the negativity we see would be eliminated if we would just check our hearts.