Friday, June 12, 2015

It is a Challenge



1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Social media can be both boon and bust.  Post something happy like the birth of a child or the purchase of a new car, and it's all sweetness and light.  Post something controversial, be it political or religious, and sit back and watch the sparks fly.  

You're liable to get burned.

I recently read a post by one of my Christian blogging friends who is so over the negative, lambasting comments made by other Christians on Facebook, she has decided to take a hiatus from the entire social media scene for the sake of her own sanity.  I hear her.  I understand.

I feel her pain.

Because I've gone through the same experiences when opinions and even blogs I've posted have met with caustic comments from those who profess to follow Jesus.  It cut me to the quick.  And it left me confused and discouraged.  

As Christians, we won't agree on every issue and we certainly have a right to our opinions, but isn't there a better way to discuss our differences than to bare fangs at one another?  To build each other up, not tear each other down?  Can't we make room for understanding?  For empathy?  For grace?

Jesus thought so.  Otherwise, why would He have come to give His life for us when we were yet sinners?  Sinners in need of His forgiveness.  Sinners who need to forgive those who revel in being social media sharks, remembering that they, too, are human beings with feelings and hopes, dreams and shortcomings.

We are, each and every one of us, equal on the sinners' playing field.

Can't we simply let God be the referee?

Can't we, as teammates with Christ, build each other up in love?

Can we learn to disagree with one another without trampling upon hearts and souls?

It is a challenge.

Yes, indeed, it is.

Are you ready to take it on?

~

As you interact with others on social media, how do/can you build them up?

Prayer:  Father, the anonymity of social media brings forth so many temptations to speak our minds before considering the feelings of others.  As we follow You in our Christian walk, may our messages sent and shared be true and purposeful in Your ways.  May we always encourage and build others up for Your honor and glory.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

13 comments:

  1. Martha, you are spot on in what you have written here. Honestly, I've at times held back and not written certain things to avoid getting attacked through social media. It's hard to post what should be posted due to people's reactions. Yet, it's good to post what God has placed on my heart too.

    Building people up on social media: be truthful but gentle, ask yourself "would I say this to this person's face"?, disagree in a winsome way. Those are just some thoughts off the top of my head.

    Love and blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seems like we've experienced the same reactions from time to time, Kim. We do need to post what God places on our hearts, but we need to do so prayerfully as I'm certain you do.
      I do like your ideas on how to build others up, especially asking ourselves if we would say the same thing standing face-to-face with the person. The lack of body language and intonation on social media can serve to make even light-hearted comments seem more abrasive than we ever intended.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  2. I've been meaning to write a post on this in general, Martha. It's not just controversial posts but mistakes or lapses in judgment which people sometimes post on blogs, online platforms. When the masses are upset with something, it becomes an all out war to fire, terminate or bully the perpetrator through social media. If we wouldn't say or do something in person, why would we do it publicly and on social media? Does God, kindness and love not apply on the internet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God's kindness and love should most definitely be reflected on the internet, Vishnu! I think the anonymity of the social media scene gives people the illusion that they can express themselves in any way they wish because they'll never be held accountable in the long run. And I really, truly dislike the growing trend toward being unable to have a civil discourse about any subject without having someone who disagrees lash out at the person who posted the information instead of simply stating why they have another opinion. May we, as Christians, work harder at showing grace toward others always.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  3. I hear you Martha Jane. I expect negative comments from a person who comments on my blog because he is not a Christ-follower. I'm not big enough to have a big negativity party. However, I tire of reading comments on other blogs that are filled with vitriol and mean-spirited words. There is one blogger who seems to relish in putting down the church or leaders who make mistakes (not moral ones) and then he rides it. I finally quit reading his blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Bill, I've noted that one contributor on your post who likes to pick at every little thing; I simply hope your continuation of being kind and respectful toward him will convince him one day to follow the Lord.
      And I think, for reason of our own health and sanity, we need to avoid blogs which are continually negative or insulting to the faith. We don't have to read them, but we can keep them in our prayers.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  4. And it doesn't take much negative to really dig at your heart, does it? Your words are so true. Social media is like fire - good when contained and used properly. I just don't understand how people can think they can say anything, write anything even hurtful, deceitful things on Facebook that they would never say to a person's face. Well written!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, Jean, it doesn't take much negative to drag our positive into question. Funny how educators (I used to teach) thought that placing high achievers with low performers would up the ante. It did just the opposite.
      We do need to think about what we write in context of whether or not we would say it to the face. All important. All mindful. Especially, as Christians. We are called to a higher and better purpose.
      I do pray this post meets and greets all who suffer from the onslaught of criticism.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  5. It seems like I constantly need a break from social media and there are definitely times when I am convinced life would be lots better without it completely!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It seems like I constantly need a break from social media and there are definitely times when I am convinced life would be lots better without it completely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen, Kathy, I hear you! I really stay on Facebook to keep up with old friends and promote my novels. I avoid the drama whenever I can.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  7. Amen Martha. You know my heart on this. I don't expect everyone to agree, but I will always believe there are ways to disagree without being ugly. Thanks for joining the effort to point us to kindness with our words in person and online. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  8. There are things which we like on social media and then there are things which we hate. It is upto us to decide how we let them affect us in every manner.

    And yes, a break from social media at regular intervals is very much important.

    ReplyDelete

I Will Lift My Eyes

Luke 21:25 There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.  On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and t...