If we’ve talked for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me talk about social media. I have a love-hate relationship with it.
Social media is an extension of the outflow of our tongues, expressing thoughts on everything under the sun. Like our tongues, social media can be an instrument for healing or destruction.
God has much to say about the tongue:
- There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
- Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. (Proverbs 18:21)
- She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Proverbs 31:26)
- If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (James 1:26)
He also makes a vital connection for us:
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34b).
That verse convicts and directs me every time. When I think of all the things that flow out of my mouth, I’m confronted with the fact that I glorify myself more than God and cast aside his good gifts to me through complaining.
If social media is a reflection of our tongues, which are a reflection of our hearts, which are made in the image of God to reflect his glory and proclaim the gospel, what are our posts and tweets saying about God? What do our comments say about the gospel? How are our social media musings and photos adorning the gospel and drawing others to the irresistible Christ?
We are meant to live our lives with passion and authenticity to who we are in Christ and how he has made us. We are social beings, constrained and compelled by the love of God, meant to live in the rich blessing of community and tell of his wondrous works to the next generation. As believers, we are meant to shine in a dark world and to be recognized as holding a worldview unique from the rest of what’s out there.
Then we are beholden to understand the depth of influence and limitations of social media if we are going to use it. We need to accept that using any platform to vent, muse on social issues, display our weaknesses, or exhibit a carefully curated vignette affects those who see and hear. It reflects what we believe about God. Social media, by its very nature, limits context and compassion, and it promotes trends. It is directly linked to skyrocketing rates of depression, suicide, isolation, gender dysphoria, racism, political extremism, hate speech, and more. It’s also linked to some pretty wonderful things, too, when used well.
Before we throw up our hands and either say, “That’s not how I use social media, “ or “I’m shutting down all my feeds right now,” let’s lay it all before the Lord. Let him show us what’s what. Am I contributing to the negative narrative, to the world’s views of perfectionism, feminism, marriage, parenting, singleness, politics, gender ideology, the “right” way to arrange a book shelf or cook a meal…? You get the idea.
Let’s lay before the Redeemer our “right” to speak our minds and our cravings to be validated— and let him approve, rearrange, and eject what he wants. He has created us for good works, which he prepared in advance for us to do. If he wants us to use social media, he wants us to use it for him.
Does our use of social media need to look like this blog? No. We have freedom in Christ! We are different people with different gifts and different interests. Social media can look like so many different things, but all of our social media should reflect the same Person—the glorious, generous, sacrificial, loving Christ. There, the difference is made for all of us.