Social media tends to get a bad reputation for the negative aspects that frequently spread like wildfire. From trolling to comparing to disrespectful and downright hurtful challenges, the truth is that darkness often lurks in social media land. Nevertheless, just as evil is present, our lights as believers can introduce the love of Christ into those dark spaces. Whether we want to admit it or not, this powerful mode of communication is here to stay, so we might as well allow ourselves to be instruments who influence the world for the glory of God and use social media as a tool for good.
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1. Think before posting, responding, liking, or sharing.
First things first. Before posting, responding, tapping that like button, or sharing any content, we can work to filter our actions through spiritual lenses as children of God. Ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say helpful?”, or “Could what I post be hurtful or offensive to someone?” While the world tells us that we have a license to say whatever we want to say and be whoever we want to be without regard for the thoughts and feelings of others, the Word of God says the opposite. Matthew 5:16 states, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Also, Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Both passages remind us of who we are in Christ and how we should conduct ourselves as a result. In short, light, kindness, and love should rule our behavior so that we can ultimately point people to Christ even through social media.
2. Send a message of encouragement.
Who doesn’t like receiving encouragement, especially when the words feel like they arrived when we needed them most? For example, is someone on your timeline expressing feelings of depression or discouragement? Your friend could likely benefit from a word from you. Proverbs 16:24 highlights that “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Furthermore, Proverbs 15:4 is a reminder that “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Finally, Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” So we can send kind words to someone on our friend lists through the comments or direct message features to speak life. Our words have power, and when led by the Holy Spirit on what to say, we might be the vessel to provide hope for the hopeless, help for the helpless, and inspiration to keep going for those who feel defeated.
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3. Say a prayer.
Often, folks on our friend lists will share concerns, hurts, struggles, and even specific prayer requests. Rather than scrolling past the post or saying in your mind that you will pray for them (only to forget seconds later after being distracted by other news on your timeline), pause and say a prayer, or better yet, if you feel comfortable, send a prayer to that person. If you have a prayer journal, write the person’s name down and lift them up in prayer as often as you view your entry. Another option is to select a random friend and petition God on their behalf or ask the person how you can intercede for them. Most people will not reject the opportunity to be prayed for but rather welcome this thoughtful gesture. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 reminds us to “pray continually,” and James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” The passages confirm the importance and power of prayer.
4. Rejoice with those who rejoice.
The enemy tries to use social media as a way for us to compare ourselves or become discontent when our timelines show others winning at life. Rather than pouting or allowing envy to creep in, we can sincerely be excited for the blessings that we see around us. We can choose to view the victories of others as testimonies of God’s goodness. Take a moment to let the person know how proud you are of them or how genuinely happy you are to see all the amazing things that are going on in their life, whether it is your friend who just had a baby, the church member who got married or your classmate who got a new job. The Bible reminds us in Romans 12:15 to “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Conversely, seeing when we see someone has lost a loved one or tragedy has struck should prick our hearts, and we can pray, send a kind word, or even reach out to find out what type of support they need during the difficult time. Remember, we are God’s hands and feet on this earth, and the vineyard includes our social media interactions.
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5. Join a Group
Connecting with like-minded believers through social media groups can also be a way to use this vehicle for good. Whether you are a mother looking for godly parenting tips or an author seeking to expand your support system through your writing journey, joining a group within the platforms can be beneficial. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Contrary to what some may think, we can make beautiful connections through social media. This notion was proven further when we were forced to remain in the confines of our homes during the pandemic. While this is not an advertisement to stay at home altogether and forgo any outside social interactions, there is great significance in even assembling with others online for growth, encouragement, and support.
6. Donate to a cause.
Has a friend set up a cause to donate to for their birthday? Is someone in need of funds to lay a loved one to rest? While prayers in these situations are helpful, sometimes God allows us to see these tangible needs and has provided us with the resources to be a blessing financially. While every cause, fund, and request are likely not your assignment, be prayerful and sensitive to the Holy Spirit as to which opportunities are. Giving is God’s nature, as He gave His son just for us. Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Luke 6:38 states, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” In our giving, we can do as Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
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7. Tell Others About Christ
Last but certainly not least, now is the time to tell the world about Christ. While street evangelism is essential, missionary work abroad is important, and Sunday service invitation to discipleship is necessary, a positive aspect of social media is that it transcends space, time, and location. Technological advances make reaching the world for Christ easier than previous generations, so we cannot underestimate the power of sharing the Gospel through social media platforms. One of our major desires as believers should be to see others saved and experience the same unconditional love we received when we accepted Jesus as Lord. We are reminded in Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Mark 16:15 also says, “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’” Telling others about Christ can include sharing what He has done in your life, Scripture passages about who He is, or even videos or sermons that highlight Christ. As with each suggestion, be prayerful about ways to tell others about Christ through your social media engagements.
Remember that the digital world is a communal space, providing us with the opportunity to build others up. Sure, social media has the reputation of being a hostile, wild place, but as Christians, we are called to defy social norms and pursue holiness and offer encouragement in all aspects of our lives, digital or not.
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Originally published Tuesday, 04 January 2022.