iPads, smart phones, and laptops have all pretty much become “essentials” in today’s world. We are living in a social media age where so much of our lives revolve around social networking. This can be a really good thing, we can use it to reach people we could otherwise not reach and bless people by praying and sending words of encouragement through e-mail or networking sites. It can also be a really (really) bad thing that can be – and is – used for evil. Arguments, bullying, complaining, etc. are all things I encounter daily on the web. There are two things that have stuck out to me over the past few years that I will share, but be brief about.
- Some things do need to be addressed, but do they need to be addressed by me?
This goes for anything in life, but especially online. I’m not talking about national news, I’m talking about the everyday not-so-good decisions of others in their life. Many people take it upon themselves to share their opinion of some else’s choice online. Many times it is unnecessary. As Christians we are told in the Bible to keep one other accountable – but there has got to be some kind of personal relationship built there in order for the accountability to be affective.
- You aren’t going to change their mind by arguing with them online.
This is the number one issue I see. Arguing online. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Most of the time people’s opinion only change when they are one-on-one in a discussion with someone who they can tell doesn’t want to jump down their throat when they hit a disagreement, but in stead talk about it respectfully.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” -Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)
Because we live in such a tech-savvy age and social media has become an everyday part of life, I have tried to set rules for myself and wanted to share them with you. Having found myself in a few arguments of my own several years ago I thought it necessary and I have found them to help a great deal.
– Never complain on the Internet. Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, etc. I have made it a hard and fast rule for myself. The first place I must go with my problems is my Heavenly Father, not a few hundred Facebook friends. I do not wish to spew my personal struggles all over the world wide web. If it is something I want the prayers of others for I go to them directly.
“Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” -1 Peter 5:7
– Keep negative and disapproving comments to myself. No, I don’t agree with everything I see on my news feed. In fact, there is probably very little that I do agree with. But I know that plastering my opinion on their post isn’t going to change their mind on the subject. The only exception to this is if the person is genuinely asking for others’ thoughts. Even then I proceed with caution. Voicing opinion is a right in this country, but it should go without saying that it should be done respectfully.
– View social media sites such as Facebook as a prayer tool. All you have to do is pull up your Facebook home page (or Twitter, or whatever it is you use) to see five things you could pray for in the lives of others. A mom has to take her son to the ER suddenly, a friend may have cancer, etc.. It is the perfect tool for a Christian to use to pray for those around us. Never give up an opportunity to pray for someone. Prayer is powerful, and we all need someone to pray for us.
The internet is huge, and I have a feeling it will only get bigger. Use it for good.
“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness … the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” -Romans 2:4