News reports show that, as of 2015, more than 1 billion people and organizations around the world now have a Facebook account. Social media, like Facebook and Twitter, have given an unprecedented number of people a platform to communicate. A review of how we are using social media and how we can use it even more effectively is in order.
/// “Look at me”
Sociologists have coined the term the “Look-At-Me Generation,” referring to adults—mostly young adults—who have come of age at the same time of social media’s appearance. As the term suggests, if you glance at this segment of the population’s daily social media, you are almost guaranteed to see someone talking about themselves.
“Look at my new outfit;” “Look at my exercise results;” “Look what’s on my dinner plate.”
There is nothing inherently wrong talking about what is going on in your life, and we can and should take an interest in what people are doing and thinking. Jesus Himself was alert to the habits and attitudes of those around him. He noticed the widow giving her mite when others did not. He wanted the children to come close so He could bless them. In short, Jesus cares about people’s lives.
If we are not careful, however, we can fall victim to the opposite effect about become too self-involved. Popular author and pastor John Piper, in 2009, admitted that social media can “lure people away from Scripture and prayer, disembody relationships, feed the fires of narcissism, cater to the craving for attention, fill the world with drivel, shrink the soul’s capacity for greatness, and make us second-handers who comment on life when we ought to be living it.”
Christians must also take into account human nature. It is very possible to incite lust or envy with a social media post. Just as many Christians refuse to drink alcohol out of consideration for the weaker brother, we ought to have the same sort of consideration with social media.
/// “Look at this”
John Piper, while he did admit the weaknesses of social media, went on to say that Christians should not boycott them but try to harness them. We can “try to fill these media with as much provocative, reasonable, Bible-saturated, prayerful, relational, Christ-exalting, truth-driven, serious, creative pointers to true greatness as you can.”
That brings the discussion to category number two of social media posts you find. People sharing information or ideas about various issues. “Look at this political issue,” “Look at that sports news,” “Look at this Bible verse.” There is something inherently good about using this platform of social media to forward viewpoints and the Christian message.
Christians, however, must be careful not to add offense to the cross with brash comments about politics, sports and culture. When you are trying to espouse opinions and articles that are interesting to you, be sure to consider how it would enhance or detract from your Christian witness.
/// “Look at Him”
Whether we are talking about ourselves or the issues of the days, Christians would do best to post on social media with Jesus in mind. Whether we are talking about ourselves and the daily happenings of life, or are posting an interesting photo, it should all come back to Him. Only when our social media habits shout, “Look at Jesus,” will they have a lasting impact, an eternal significance.