September 12, 2014

What Jesus Might Say About Social Media

We are moving quickly into a day when life is real only as it's captured on social media. A milestone is not momentous unless a picture is posted on Instagram, a life circumstance is not fully experienced until it is discussed on Facebook, and an event isn't fun or meaningful unless it has a cute hashtag. We read 140-character philosophies or follow links to blog posts and articles, but how often do we--do I--evaluate what is said rather than consider how it might actually apply to the deep recesses of my heart?
I recognized how much life is moving onto social media when, on a recent morning, I read about the Good Samaritan and my first thought was, "I wonder if a modern-day Good Samaritan would help the beaten-up guy if the beaten-up guy wasn't on Twitter and, therefore, couldn't tweet about the good deed of the Good Samaritan? Would he only do it for the retweet?" 

Which led me to consider what Jesus might say about social media. Like most things, social media is a fairly neutral medium, but it's a medium that reveals our hearts so accurately. Social media has been a considerable gift to me in that it's helped me stay connected with friends, follow great writers, and hopefully encourage others through my blog. But it's also been a source of discontentment, pride, comparison, and envy; it's revealed my heart. Above all, it's shown me how difficult it is to remember that life is what happens off of the screen, not on it. 

What might Jesus say to us specifically about how we relate to social media? Perhaps this:
  • But when you do a charitable deed, do not let the hand you hold your smartphone with know what your other hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
  • But when you text, let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no', 'no.
  • No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and social media.
  • Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your blog, what you will write about or who will read it. Is not life more than the comments you receive on your blog? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
  • Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you on Facebook, do also to them.
  • A good Twitter feed cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad feed bear good fruit. Therefore by their feeds you will know them.
  • I say to you that for every idle word men may tweet, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
  • These people draw near to Me with their Pinterest quotes and honor Me with their Instagram pictures, but their heart is far from Me. 
  • If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains millions of followers, and loses his own soul? 
  • Whoever desires to be great among you, let him use his online presence to be your servant.
  • O Jerusalem! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under wings, but you were not willing because you were distracted by your phone!
  • The thief does not come except to steal joy by drawing you to live life only online and kill you with comparison. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 
He for sure says this: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:29-30).

God uses the internet, no doubt, but the internet can also be a wearying place for the heart. It doesn't always place an easy yoke and a light burden upon us. So perhaps it would be good for today to be still instead of swiping, read wisdom in Scripture instead of typing on little screens, listen to the Spirit rather than finding another blog to follow. We don't need another DIY treasure, we need Christ, "in whom is hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). 

Today, I challenge you to still yourself before Him, resist distraction, and dive deep into that treasure. Give your heart a break from what can quietly weary you and go to the One who can truly recharge you.

That's where I'll be today. I hope you'll join me.