Like it or not, social media is currently THE place where ideas and information are shared and disseminated. We no longer have to guess how people are living and what they are thinking. We know almost instantly through the pictures, posts, opinions, analyses (informed or not), and reactions of friends, acquaintances, family, and public figures.
As Christians, I think we should struggle with this question of whether or not to weigh in on social media – be it about the hot-button current event everyone is talking about, or what we had for breakfast that day. On the one hand, there is so much noise out there it’s wise to question whether adding our perspective at this moment is necessary or helpful. On the other hand, I don’t think we can be silent all the time because God calls us to engage thoughtfully and intentionally with the world and the people He’s placed in our lives to display His truth. And social media affords us that opportunity.
In recent months, I have been wrestling with this general question of how to use my social media accounts (more specifically, Facebook) to the glory of God. For the longest time I have been afraid to post anything “serious.” I’d rather just present the most likeable and non-controversial sides of my life – pictures of me doing fun things, happy status updates, and pictures of my family. I rationalized not posting anything with too much depth by saying it’s too hard to get into meaningful conversation about the nuanced issues of current events, Christianity, and worldview on social media. To an extent, I still think this is true. It is difficult to engage in robust discussion in a simple status update, especially when you don’t even know who will see it or understand the context of where you’re coming from.
But I have also been thinking through how I can use every opportunity, big or small, to let those around me know that Christ is my greatest treasure and hope. I’ve had to grudgingly admit that Facebook presents an enormous opportunity to share my life and worldview with a large number of non-Christian friends and family. I have many Facebook friends who I will probably never see again face to face, but who care enough about my life that they read, like, and comment on my status updates. There are others who I don’t get to spend enough time with for them to see how the gospel affects me in the day-to-day. And there are still others who might never otherwise listen to a Christian but for the connection they have with me. Why then would I not see Facebook as an incredibly important opportunity to articulate how I live out the Christian life in the big and small? And when a major current event has captivated my friends’ and families’ attention, should I not desire to be a voice of truth and compassion, expressing how the gospel comes to bear on the situation?
Now, this hasn’t led me to the conclusion that I need to post about everything all the time. Furthermore, I don’t have the expectation that my posts will single-handedly lead someone to Christ or completely transform their thinking on a certain topic. That is God’s work. But I’ve had to critically consider how what I post, from the funny dog video or family picture to the serious note about a current event, can be used to plant seeds in my audience’s hearts that God might someday grow into a desire to know Him more. In using Facebook and other social media thoughtfully, I want to be a light in the lives of those God has placed in my circle of influence (and friend list!).
We don’t need to always post our thoughts and opinions, nor do we need to spill every last detail of our lives. But to the other extreme, if we never post anything honest and just stay completely out of the general discourse, we miss opportunities to articulate our Christian worldview to those friends and family who desperately need Him.
May God grant us wisdom and courage as we seek to use our social media presence for His glory.