Social Media is an interesting place.
A place to spread the Gospel, and a place for keyboard warriors to have more courage than they actually do in face-to-face situations.
Among other things.
I’m on social media for two reasons and have two different accounts for each of these reasons.
- Personal. We move around a lot and have made friends in a bunch of different places and we do not currently live near any family members. I’m on social media to keep friends and family up to date on our lives and how big our kids are getting, and to see what they are all up to. I also follow certain accounts for ideas and encouragement for homeschooling and in my walk with Jesus.
- My second account is dedicated to theology. To share the Gospel and the truth of God’s Word.
I’m careful about who I follow on both accounts, because what you see on social media fills your mind as much as television or reading a book. I want my focus on Jesus and I want to follow accounts that will help keep it there. My account with the larger following, I don’t follow that many other accounts because my account itself keeps me busy and it is hard to keep up with what other accounts are doing. (I try to keep up on my personal account, though!). Social media is such a huge time consumer. My priorities of my own walk, my family, being a keeper at home, and homeschooling, must always come first. I’m not sure if my theology account is actually considered a ministry, but if it is, its the ministry that is last on the list. My heart behind who I follow, and who I don’t, is not coming from a place of malice, truly, even though it can be taken that way, I know.
Have you ever noticed how the follow/unfollow button is a weapon on social media? It’s one of those annoying things about social media. “You said something that I don’t like – UNFOLLOW!”
Don’t get me wrong, you are free to follow and unfollow who you want (I do!). But, there’s no denying, especially when it comes to theology accounts, a lot of the time our decision has to do with whether or not we are offended.
I posted a list of questions on Twitter the other day:
Some personal reflection questions, for myself first and foremost, when offense rises up in us from something on social media (or somewhere else).
We tend to get too offended too quickly. Social media is notorious for that.
I, personally, have been accused of offending. I keep getting restricted, which is most likely due to being reported, and I found out last week that I was completely blocked (not just unfollowed) over my stance on head coverings. I’ve also been told that I am unloving do to my thoughts on public schools.
I have also been offended multiple times. I mean, blocked over head coverings?! My initial reaction was offense over that, for sure. That is just one example, there have been other times that I have been offended.
I have also been slandered and had false accusations about my motives. Comes with the territory, I guess. But John Bunyan has a great quote that has encouraged me in those times: “Therefore, I bind these lies and slanderous accusations to my person as an ornament; it belongs to my Christian profession to be vilified, slandered, reproached and reviled, and since all this is nothing but that, as God and my conscience testify, I rejoice in being reproached for Christ’s sake.”
BUT not every time we are offended is persecution. That’s extremely important to remember.
That’s why the questions above are important for us to ask ourselves, “WHY am I offended?”, and to make sure that our answer to that question is not based on emotion. “When the offended conscience is aroused, correction and discipline can find its mark.” We all have blind spots, and quite possibly what we are offended about is one of them.
Why am I offended that @_________ doesn’t follow me? Is it because I am prideful about the number of followers and who follows me?
Was an article or comment really unloving or did I just not like what it said?
Am I offended or just convicted?
Social media can be a very convicting place. I personally have said “ouch” to myself from a post or two by Ligonier or Desiring God or Costi Hinn.
So, what can help us to stop being so easily offended? Praying regularly and being in the Word constantly. More of the Word, less of the drama of social media. The stronger we are in Christ helps us to know, based on biblical standards, if or how we need to correct ourselves.
If our entire purpose is to further God’s kingdom, then those times that we are offended seem minuscule, and we use them to reflect and examine ourselves.
If there are accounts that are constantly causing you to be angry or taking your focus off Christ, then I encourage you to unfollow. I have. Unfollowing an account when I realized it was bad theology, or an account that put my focus more on politics and the constitution more than the Bible, has helped my walk more than once.
But should you unfollow or block an account that is actually convicting you over the truth of Scripture? Maybe we need to be convicted over an area to cause repentance and change in our life.
God’s Word is offensive, after all.
It comes down to your motives and your heart. Why are you following, unfollowing, or blocking an account?
Now to flip it to the other side:
What’s our heart behind our own posts?
The very thing we post most about or accuse people of a lot may be the very thing that we are blind about.
God sees our hypocrisy, even if our followers don’t. We have to make sure we are taking the beam out of our own eye before we post on social media. I should not post about having humility or being loving when I am not humble or loving myself. Self-deception is a danger for professing Christians.
Is my motive for posting on a particular subject a petty one? “Man, I hope she sees my latest post because she needs to hear it”. Pettiness is not a sign of a Christian.
Pride is another. One of the things that I have to stop myself from getting offended over is when I am told in my DMs or comments that I need to do more research or that someone else’s post on the same subject is better than mine. I can get hurt and offended over that so easily. But I need to repent of my pride when that happens.
Our graphics should be for the Glory of God only. If another account has a post on the same subject that is better (a nicer designed graphic, more eloquently worded, etc) than we should be supportive of them. God’s truth is getting out. Competition on graphics just takes away from His message.
Am I being unloving with my post? “Sometimes the truth doesn’t sound very loving.” – Voddie Baucham. He’s right about that, isn’t he? Sometimes no matter how nicely we say something, if someone is offended, we will be accused of being unloving (like I mentioned above), but sometimes we use that as an excuse to be unloving in our delivery. If our intention behind a post is initially unloving, its better to wait and pray. Then we can approach it later with a more gracious, loving heart.
Social media can be used for so much good – As long as our focus stays on Christ. It’s the pettiness, malice, pride, lack of humility, easy offense, hypocrisy, and purpose of furthering ourselves, that make social media terrible.
A professing Christian’s actions, even those on social media, are more of a testament to what God’s done in their life than what they say. Are we perfect? No. Do we still sin? Yes. But where is our heart and what is our purpose?
Social Media – All for the Glory of God!
Please note: These were thoughts that I have had for a couple of weeks, so I am talking to myself first.
2 thoughts on “Social Media: What’s Your Heart Behind It?”
This is so good 🙂 And you are so right! thanks for the exhortation because I DO need to ask myself some of those questions when I decide to unfollow. Good Word, sister. 🙂
Great post, Janell. It seems that today, people get offended over everything, they even look for reasons to be offended and if one looks for an offense, they usually find it. And I love the tweets from msjgarwood because they’re so true. Christians will be persecuted because Jesus was persecuted and people took offense to His teachings back when He was on earth. Thank you so much for calling this. You have my utmost respect.