Social media can be a wonderful gift. It provides us with ways to connect with friends, share great ideas, encourage people around the world, and get information out to a wide range of people in a short amount of time.
On the other hand…
Social media can be a horrible curse. It provides us with ways to disparage the character of others, spread falsehood and rumors, further the growth of smut and filth, and damage our own reputation in a matter of moments.
Over the years, I have tried to use the social media world for good. Especially through Facebook and Twitter, I have been honored to connect with lots of folks, and have been greatly encouraged many times, often by people I rarely get to see in person.
But I have also noticed a trend among some Christians that really bothers me. Oh, there are many negative ways in which Facebook and other sites are used. One, though, has really been getting to me lately.
It is when Christians air the dirty laundry from church through social media.
“Our preacher made everyone mad this morning when he said…”
“Sure wish our song leaders wouldn’t think they were the center of attention…”
“The elders obviously just don’t get it…”
“What some people wear to worship…”
“Everyone at church is upset about…”
And on and on it goes. I wish I was making these quotations up. Admittedly, I have not done exact quotes for the purposes of this article (for obvious reasons), but these are all based upon things I have seen over the years on Facebook.
Even more tragically, some of the posts name names of the “guilty” (notice the quotation marks!).
Why would we do that? Why would Christians think it is a good idea to talk about the negative things at their local congregation via Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites?
Are there times when we must address negative things in our local congregations? Of course. So long as there are people in a local congregation, that congregation will have struggles. People make mistakes. They aren’t always as kind as they should be. They will sin. They will be unwise.
And, yes, we must deal with those things.
But to just put those issues out for the world to see on Facebook is unwise. It hurts the reputation of the local congregation, and harms our ability to evangelize our local community (let alone the world).
So, before you hit “enter” and post your latest rant, why not re-read the post three times.
- Reread it as if you were seeking the Lord. Likely, you have friends on Facebook or Twitter who are seeking answers to life’s deepest questions. Will your little rant help draw them nearer to a community of believers, or push them away from wanting to be part of a congregation?
- Reread it with Colossians 4:6 nearby. Paul wrote that our words are always to be “gracious.” Is your latest airing of dirty laundry really “gracious” to that person, the elders, the congregation as a whole, or even to the Lord Himself?
- Reread it as one who can’t stand the church. There are plenty of people out there who do not like Christianity or who do not like the local church. Why would we give them more “ammo” for their arguments?
Let’s make sure we use social media as a way to teach, encourage, and lift others to a higher place. There is a place to handle issues that arise in our local congregations, but the social media world just isn’t it!
Instead of airing dirty laundry, let’s put on the Christian armor and get to the work of evangelizing the world.
Photo background credit: Kim Myoungsung on Creative Commons