February 18, 2020

Abiding is the Guide

In my first piece in this series, I addressed the fact that we can and should take responsibility for how we participate in social media – that we must choose to share evidenced-based ideas in a logical, mature, respectful manner rather than spouting off from an emotions-driven position. And last time I challenged you to know what you know and why you know it – by taking the time to fully understand the foundations of your particular worldview position. For example, Christians must purpose to study the Bible and know how to apply its precepts in order to accurately represent Christian principles in the marketplace of ideas. 

Even with all of that background, though, we might still wonder what to do on social media in the “heat of the moment” – i.e., when some contentious or controversial issue comes to the fore. As a Christian, I endeavor to look to Scripture as my guide in all things, and two passages came immediately to my mind in response to that question:

  • Ecclesiastes 3.1, 7b - "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak…” Sometimes God will call us to speak up (whether we really want to or not); other times He will challenge us to remain quiet. Both are biblical responses, contingent upon God’s leading in the moment. The key is to be abiding with Christ (John 15) so we’ll be able to discern His will one way or the other. And when we’re supposed to keep our fingers off the keyboard, we can (should) decide to take a matter to prayer instead, so we can feel that we’re still “doing something;
  • Luke 10.27 – "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” If we believe we should say something, we must then consider how to both glorify God and demonstrate care for any who will read our words. And in doing so, we can remember how John tells us (John 1.17) that Jesus – our example in all things – is full of “grace and truth.” In other words, true love (as we represent God as His image-bearers and as we interact with other fallen humans) contains a balance between the softness (not spinelessness) of grace and the firmness (not harshness) of truth. We should seek for that balance, too, and need – once again – to be abiding with Christ in order to discern the right mix of the two in any given situation.

Did you notice the common thread there? As with everything else in life, how we interact on social media comes down to a choice – day after day and moment by moment – to abide in Jesus or not. That sounds too simplistic, I know; most of us would prefer a detailed, definitive rulebook. But in all things – including how we use social media – God wants our dependence on Him, not our own (fallible, incomplete) human understanding. If you choose to submit yourself to Him – i.e., by devoting time to studying His Word – you can trust that He will guide you even in the messiness of social media, step by step as you walk along the way each day.


Photo Credit: Ben White on Unsplash

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