Social media can be a scary place. Comment sections, news feeds and blogs are a melting point of arguments, opinions and misunderstandings and sadly "Christian ideas" can sometimes be thrown in the mix.
There is nothing wrong with social media, and it is not necessarily bad or evil. However, just like many of God's gifts to us, social media is a good thing that can sometimes be abused and misused. The power of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and the many other social media sites are a wonderful opportunity but only when used properly.
Here are seven reminders that Christians must always have in mind when using social media.
Context rules content
We must always bear in mind that social media is a pool of micro-content that might not always give the full context of someone's thoughts, background and concepts. Proverbs 18:2 reminds us, "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." As believers who are led by God's wisdom, understanding is our best friend in gaining context.
Watch your motive
Before reacting or responding, there is a need to check our hearts and motives to giving our opinion. The prevalent culture on social media calls for us to say whatever we want because we can, but that's not always the best option.
Idleness births sin
It's easy to become idle and idleness can birth sin faster than when we're mindful and productive. Paul expressed his issues with idleness in 2 Thessalonians 3:11: "For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies." God calls us to be productive.
Learn to flee
It's ironic that in such a public domain, we can still hide behind some screens but these can be our biggest enemy. Immorality can come in the most discreet forms online, and our best stance is to always be ready to flee from temptation.
Keep weaker believers in mind when posting content
Mark 9:42 says, "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea." Our posts, photos or blogs might not always cause us to stumble, but keep in mind that there is always someone spiritually younger than you that still needs more strengthening.
Just be nice
You can never go wrong with being nice to others on social media. With the absence of voice modulating and facial expressions, it's much easier to misunderstand the smallest criticisms as aggression so an extra heap of "nice-ness" is always best practice.
Build relationships, not a following
We can either lead people to follow us or to grow in relationship with us. It's completely different to build a following and build a meaningful connection. Since God is a God of relationships, social is always a priority, but we must be wary of conceit and selfish motives that have nothing to do with what's good for other people and nothing to do with glorifying God.