I am going to take a break from my typical subject matter of Bible study tips and devotions to share with you something that we’re going to implement at our church that I believe you may find helpful.
In less than ten years, Facebook has grown from a small network of Harvard students wanting to stay connected to a worldwide phenomenon with nearly 1.5 billion subscribers. Twitter was launched just a few years ago by Jack Dorsey. Today there are over 300 million users and that number is growing by almost 1 million per month. From December of 2014 to September of 2015, the number of Instagram accounts grew by a staggering 100 million, to a total of 400 million subscribers.
Social media has become part of our everyday lives. It’s radically changed the mode of communication in the 21st century. Some people love it. Others hate it. But, love it or hate it, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the growing number of other social media platforms are here to stay.
God will hold us accountable for the things we speak through social media.
Social media can be a valuable tool. It can be used to report up-to-the-minute news, promote a cause or just stay connected with old friends. But like anything else it can also be used for less-than-honorable purposes. Social media, itself, is neither moral nor immoral. It’s like a brick – a brick can be used to build a school or break a window. How it’s used depends on whether it’s in the hand of a builder or a thief! Whether social media has a good or bad impact depends upon the person using it.
Social media is a great tool in the church world. It’s used to connect with people, promote missions, offer encouragement and even share the Gospel. Unfortunately, it’s also used as a platform for gossip and criticism. It’s sad that marital infidelity oftentimes begins with inappropriate interaction on social media. But, just like we don’t outlaw bricks because some people use them to break windows, we can’t ignore the value of social media or boycott it just because some people misuse it.
As Christians, our activities on social media must be guided by scriptural principles. The Bible is full of instructions dealing with the tongue, meaning our speech. Don’t think that just because social media uses written words, it isn’t speech. The same Godly principles that guide how we audibly speak to one another should guide how we communicate via social media.
Jesus said in Matthew 12:36:
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
God will hold us accountable for the things we speak through social media. Life and death is in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21), but that also includes social media: Life and Death is in the power of the written text!
Paul establishes a great concept in 1 Corinthians 14 concerning our interaction with one another. He said everything should be done unto edifying.
1 Cor. 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
What a great principle to guide our social media posts and comments: Does it edify? At Faith Apostolic Church (www.faithapostolic.us) we are going to adopt the following guide to social media use. I trust you will find it useful:
Faith Apostolic Church Social Media Guide
Understanding that God’s Word places great emphasis on the words that come out of my mouth (or keyboard!), I commit to use the following guide to help me determine if my post or comment honors God and should be posted on social media:
- Is the motivation for my post or comment to make Jesus look good or just to make me look good? If it’s about exalting self, don’t post it!
- Does this post or comment edify those who will read it, including my family, spouse, church, fellow Christians and unbelievers? If not, don’t post it.
- Will this post strengthen or diminish the unity of the members of Faith Apostolic Church? If it does not promote unity, don’t post it.
- Will this post be offensive, divisive, judgmental or hurtful to my brothers and sisters in the church, my family or the community at large? If so, don’t post it.
- With this post or comment, am I trying to prove my point, get a dig in at someone else, silence my critics, or make someone else look bad? If so, don’t post it.
- Will this post or comment honor and please God? If not, don’t post it.
- Will this post or comment be something that I ever be ashamed of or embarrassed to have anyone read or repeat? If that’s the case, don’t post it.
- Would I say what I’m posting or commenting to the person’s face? If not, don’t post it.
Remember, As members of Faith Aposotlic Church, we do not use social media as the platform to judge, condemn, rebuke or correct. Jesus gave us the instructions for handling such matters in Matthew 18, and it is not Biblical to use social media for such purposes.
Remember, let all things “be done unto edifying” and when it doubt, don’t!
Pastor Matthew Ball
Social media can be a useful tool of encouragement and connection. Let us use it as such.