Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Mudslinging, name calling and misleading political ads have always been all too common during election years. But the 2016 election has become more volatile than anyone can remember. Name calling, cursing, lies and violent outbursts at political rallies have become the new norm.

What saddens me more is how many Christians are speaking the same way on social media sites like Face Book, Twitter and Instagram. If someone disagrees with them they are quick to use words like: stupid, idiot, racist, or Nazi.

To make matters worse, these same people who degrade others with their words have professed to being a “God loving Christian” but have a habit of posting memes of inspirational Bible verses right along with others that portray their opposing candidate as the devil incarnate. “Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. These things should not be.” (James 3:10)

I imagine a non-believer reads those things and thinks, “They’re no different than I am.” Or, “If that’s what a Christian is like, I don’t want to be one.” Or, “Christians are such hypocrites!”

In the midst of political and religious debates it’s easier to attack people rather than lovingly challenge someone’s actions and ideas. But that is not what God expects from His children. The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” Calling someone stupid or an idiot does none of those things.

“A Covenant for Civility” adopted by a number of evangelical leaders in 2010 asserted seven scriptural steps for civil dialogue:

1) Reflect the spirit of Scripture, being “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19)

2) Acknowledge that all people are created in the image of God. “With the tongue we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. … this ought not to be so.” (James 3:9, 10)

3) Disagree respectfully without falsely impugning others’ motives, character, or faith. We recognize in humility that in our opinions, “we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) We will therefore “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)

4) Watch the use of language, being neither arrogant nor boastful. “Before destruction one’s heart is haughty, but humility goes before honor.” (Proverbs 18:12)

Civility is needed now more than ever. No matter the results on November 8th, civility and Christian compassion will be vital to rebuild community and cooperation in the wake of a contentious presidential election.

What do people know about you?

From your Face Book page they probably know your approximate age, city of residence, marital status, hobbies and interests, but do they know the most important thing about you? Do they know that you’re a Christian? Do they know that you’re a disciple of Christ? More importantly, does what you post on social media reflect accurately your hope and peace in Jesus?

John 13:35 states, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Occasionally we sing a song in church that proclaims, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” We love that sentiment as we sit in church. I am not disputing the truth of these lyrics. Some Christians sincerely want to show and share the light they have received with others because they truly walk in the confidence, peace and love of the Lord.

Unfortunately, if you were to ask most of the unsaved world how they would describe Christians from what they post on Face Book and other social media sites, love is seldom a word that would come up. More often the word hypocritical is used.

That should not surprise anyone familiar with Face Book. Too often I have scrolled down a page of someone who professes to be a Christian who posts a serene picture with a Scripture verse superimposed over it. But then they post an inappropriate or vulgar image right below the first one. What message does that send to the unsaved world?

What is even more disturbing to me though is the negative language that is used in posts from Christians to other Christians that they happen to disagree with. I recently read a post from an unsaved person that read, “Christians are against more things than they are for. It just seems to me that Christians are mad at the world and mad at each other. They are so negative that they seem unhappy. I have no desire to be like them and stay upset all the time.”

Today’s Christians have an image problem that is not pleasing to God. We don’t always do a good job of loving others as we should. But if we intend to bring the gospel of Jesus to an unsaved world we first need to wash our minds with the God’s truth and walk in a way that reflects His love inside of us.

The Apostle John says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)

James chapter 3 reminds us that the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. He warns that the tongue is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body and is full of deadly poison. James goes on to say that out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be!

To those who would say that I am being too judgmental I would remind you that Jesus said, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment.” (Matt. 12:36)

Jesus also said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

We are to be salt and light to this dark and tasteless world. But if we hide our light—if the darkened world can see no difference between us and them, then what are we here for?

Then let us be lights that shine brightly not only with our actions and our deeds, but also with our words.