Social Media

READ IT OUT LOUD FIRST

Please read that out-loud to me.

That is a request one pastor makes when people send him an email of criticism or correction. He adds that he wants to make sure he gets the “right tone and emphasis intended”.

Face-to-face communication is usually best, especially when there is critique involved. This was true of handwritten letters and it is even more true with email, and it’s quadruply (not a word, but you get the idea) true for social media responses.

There are two big challenges to communication at a distance:

1.  Our communication may not express the care and respect that was in our heart. A single word can create unintended negativity

2.  Our communication may use abrupt or harsh of language that we would have the sense not to use face to face.

Part of Great Commandment living is to love our neighbor as our self. This requires that we express love in every communication. Remember communication includes not only what we intend to convey, it equally involves how the other person receives it.

Here is some wisdom for electronic communication:

Try not to communicate in the emotion of the moment

Give time before you respond to what others have written to you

Read it aloud to yourself first

Ask yourself, if you would say this face-to-face

Would you say this if someone you respect was there to listen?

Does this communication have the agenda of the gospel in it?

Does this even need to be said?

And if you must respond in a corrective way:

Be prayerful

Be humble

Ask someone else to read it first

Include some form of encouragement

Soften the language as much as possible

Seek clarification, in case you misunderstood them!

Try to present your correction in the form of a question. This helps the other person think about your concern themselves.

You can read the article that inspired this post here.

ALWAYS ON DUTY

 

As Christians, we are never off duty in our responsibility to Great Commandment Living.

In all situations and with all people, we are to act, think, respond and speak in ways that express love for God and love for neighbor.

This is not a burden that God places upon us; it is a great privilege that the Holy Spirit makes possible for us.

Through Great Commandment Living,

. . . We declare to God the sincerity of our love

. . . We reveal the beauty of life in Christ’s Kingdom

. . . We present to the world what righteousness looks like

. . . We demonstrate the transforming power of God is a reality

. . . We influence the people God has put in our life

. . . We bring into this bitter world the sweet taste of heaven

 

An area of daily life where we need to give attention to what Great Commandment Living looks like is how we communicate online and in social media.

For many of us, social media is our primary (or close to it) means of communication. It is how the world sees us and understands us.

And sometimes what they hear and see – has little to do with Great Commandment Living (even when we are communicating about biblical matters).

I strongly urge you to read this article by Jon Bloom on the Desiring God blog, “How Should Christians Comment Online?” Jon’s article is brief, but packed with truths we need to consider.

If we are serious about our love for God, then let’s get this area of Great Commandment Living under control.

 

A HIDDEN WEALTH

4778212_f520

We are much wealthier than you realize.

Few Americans view themselves as wealthy, because they have not seen how much poorer most of the world is in comparison.

But today I am not referring to the wealth of resources.

This article brings our attention to our wealth in opportunity!

On the Challies Blog I read an article that equated technology with wealth.

This is because technology provides us with new of many kinds:

“If technology is wealth, we are responsible for faithfully stewarding it by using it to do good to others. Technology offers countless opportunities to do this.”

For me, technology has created many wonderful ministry benefits:

I can send quick texts of encouragement to friends

My prayer app helps me to keep on top of a growing prayer list

A variety of technologies enable me to connect with missions partners

Twitter and Facebook allow me a platform for sharing biblical truth

E-readers allow me to take my library anywhere I go

Sermons from preachers everywhere can be easily listened to

How do you use the opportunities that technology (and social media in all its forms) provides to us? If you are not sure, ask God to give you insight. No one wants you to use technology better than Him.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

How can technology / social media help me to connect better with people?

How can technology keep me better organized in life and with people?

How can technology / social media enable me to influence people?

How can technology / social media help me to listen to people?

How can technology / social media help me to encourage and keep up with God’s servants in distant places?

How can technology / social media help me to learn?

Of course we must also be careful to ask ourselves how these things may be distracting us from serving God and people well.

God’s gifts include the inventions that our human minds bring to life. So let us be thankful as we learn to use them for God’s glory.

WILL GOD BE HONORED WHEN YOU PRESS “ENTER”

The online world is no longer a big part of our lives – it’s a huge part of daily life. This comes with many benefits and an equal number of dangers. But knowing the difference is not that complicated. Biblical standards are for all occasions, which is part of why living by God’s word is such a benefit to us.

Living by God’s word simplifies life by cutting through the clutter of opinions

Living by God’s word clarifies life by keeping the important things in their rightful place

Living by God’s word gives peace, because we know it is always perfect wisdom

Living by God’s word gives confidence, because we don’t have to make it work

Living by God’s word makes us instantly wiser, because it will not fail

Living by God’s word is contagious as our children and grandchildren see its fruit in us

Living by God’s word gives us joy, because it is God speaking right to us

Living by God’s word blesses, because God will honor His word

With all these good things coming from the application of God’s word, shouldn’t we apply it to our use of technology and social media?

God was not caught flat-footed by the invention of the internet and the proliferation of Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. The principles that direct us when interacting with people face to face are just as important when interacting keyboard to keyboard (or smartphone to smartphone).

The next time you look at something, post something, leave a comment, respond to a comment, or pass on what you have “learned” online, ask yourself how well it honors God.

If you want more practical guidance, the Bible gives us this help in Galatians 5 when it describes the behavior to avoid (vs 19-21):

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God

It follows with the behavior we should have if the Holy Spirit lives in us (vs 22-23):

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5 then wraps it all up with this statement for the Christ follower (vs 24-26):

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another

For those who want some “extra credit” reading, this article by Trevin Wax from his Gospel Coalition blog