Getting real on social media
Why Christians need to be genuine - even online.
I have always had a love-hate relationship with Facebook. Facebook is great for lots of reasons. It helps me to keep connected with friends and family that I donʼt get to see very often. It provides some great entertainment and can it be ever better for Gospel conversations. One night as I was preparing a talk, a “friend” from High School starting chatting to me and the conversation turned to God and faith. I was able to answer his questions and ask him about his faith, all through chatting on Facebook. Of course there are also some down sides. The most obvious is wasting time. I could spend hours playing games, joining groups and chatting with friends. All good things, but in the end not the best use of time.
Who are you online?
One of the things that I really donʼt like about Facebook is how people try to be, or look like, someone theyʼre not. One of the things that many celebrities and politicians do today is try and manage their “image”. When they are with people, either chatting or having a photo taken, they want to control how all this happens. They want to be seen by people to be doing and saying the right thing. As Christians, this can be a big trap as well. We want our friends, family and even our youth pastors to think well of us. We want people to like us and most of all we want people to think that we are “good Christians”. On Facebook this could mean putting particular photos up for people or writing fancy status updates to impress people.
What defines you?
All these things reveal a deep insecurity about who we are as people. Godʼs Word encourages us to find our security and purpose in Jesus and who we are in Him. In Jesus, we are a “chosen people, holy and dearly loved” (Colossians 3:2) and it is at the Cross that we see this love in action, as Jesus dies for us and deals with our sins and brings us peace with God the Father and each other. Who I am as a person is not defined by Facebook, Twitter or SnapChat. It's defined by who I am as a child of God, and what God thinks about me - He sees me as his child loved, chosen and forgiven.
So, go ahead and use whatever social networking site you like. But make sure you donʼt try and be someone you're not. Be yourself, share with others who you are as a person and who you are in Christ. And most of all be safe. Donʼt meet up with people you have never met, be careful choosing “friends” or “followers” and think before you post.