Picture this scenario: Jesus makes His way through the busy marketplace. All of the sudden, he reaches under His robe and pulls out His iPhone 7 and snaps a picture of all the people. Hashtag “The Harvest is Plentiful.” Then Jesus signs on to His Twitter account and posts where He will be speaking next. As numerous people gather on the hillside to hear Jesus speak, Peter shows some of them a video he took on his phone of Jesus driving out a demon. Andrew says, “Dude, you’ve got to put that on YouTube. It’ll go viral.”
Have you ever considered how Jesus would respond to social media? How would the Son of God utilize platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Would He Snapchat His disciples? Would He upload His sermons to YouTube? Maybe all of this sounds crazy, but I believe if Jesus were to have come to earth in this day and age rather than 2,000 years ago, He would have used any and every method possible to broadcast the message. Jesus valued going to places where large numbers of people were gathered. And in our day and age, there is no larger gathering of people from all walks of life than social media. It’s the modern day marketplace. People of all different races, backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures find a connection on social media. Lives are shared. Relationships are fostered. News is broken. And, unfortunately, worldliness and immorality are rampant.
Because of this, some Christians would say that we have no business being on social media and that we need to avoid the internet altogether. I totally disagree. While you can choose that course of action if you prefer, I feel strongly that Christians need to be a presence where so many people are gathered. 4 million people search “God” every day on the internet. 73% of Americans have a social network profile. 47% of all internet users are on Facebook. 114.28 billion minutes are spent each month just on Facebook mobile in the U.S. There are nearly 1.4 billion Facebook users worldwide. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world, right behind China and India. As Christians, we are called to go into all the world. We will never find a corner of the world that is 100% positive and perfect. That’s called “heaven” and we’re not there yet. As followers of Jesus, we can’t afford to run away from the negativity or shut off from the world. The world will always be the world. We must always be Christ-like. I seriously doubt that all 1.4 billion Facebook users worldwide are Christians. This means we have an enormous opportunity to speak to the masses, just like Jesus did. We may be the only light that the dark world of social media ever sees. Social media is not satanic. Like anything else, you can find the bad. And unfortunately, Christians can be the culprit. Far too many of God’s children are using Facebook and social media in a way that doesn’t glorify God and sheds a negative light on the church. We need to be engaged in social media, but for the right reasons and for the right purpose. We cannot log out of our Christianity when we log on to our computer.
It’s disheartening how many Christians are posting things on Facebook and social media that are out of line with the character of Jesus and the mission of the church. 2 Corinthians 5:20 states: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us…” An ambassador is a representative and a promoter. We are representatives of Christ. We are called to be salt of the earth, providing flavor to a tasteless world, and a light in a world shrouded in darkness.
If Jesus had access to social media, it is my belief that His presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., would have only one real purpose—to point people to God. And that should be our purpose as well. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t see a problem with posting pictures of your family or your child’s accomplishments. But I believe all Christians should approach social media with a definite purpose, and that purpose should be to point people to God. We do this by glorifying God ourselves. Would Jesus spend His time demeaning the president, pushing a social agenda, bashing government officials, or sharing immodest photos or off-color jokes? Do you think Jesus would share a meme or a video with the line, “Sorry about the language, but this is too good not to share?” I don’t think so. It was Jesus who stated:
“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned (Mt. 12:36-37).”
We will be held accountable for every careless word, whether spoken audibly or through a keyboard. Our words, whether spoken out loud or posted on social media, have the potential to justify us or condemn us. Vulgarity, gossip, slander, lying, etc., are all sinful. Just because you’re sitting behind a computer and typing on a keyboard doesn’t make these sins any less severe.
When you’re online, you’re also on stage. Unless we send a private message, our online words are available for anyone to see. Hundreds, if not thousands, are privy to what we tweet or post. This reality should cause us to pause and think before leaving a comment. Words are bullets that, once they are fired, you can’t get them back; therefore, we need to weigh our words before we hit “send.”
So stop putting your political agenda and opinions above the cause of Christ. Stop posting material that contains graphic and vulgar language. Quit posting immodest pictures. Stop gossiping and slandering on social media. Quit sharing things and quit commenting on things that do not glorify God. Quit shedding a negative light on Jesus Christ and the church. Think about who you represent. Think about the congregation you represent. Think about your influence. Think about your purpose and your mission. Don’t use Facebook or social media as a means of promoting some personal agenda that ultimately hinders the cause of Christ. It’s never Christian to be unchristian, and that absolutely applies to the cyber world as much as it does the real world.