Does it seem like your social media newsfeed is full of division and anger right now? You’re not alone. Between an election year in the United States, a global pandemic, social justice tensions, and holiday stress, there’s a lot of kindling for keyboard warriors.
But what if Christians viewed social media not as a cultural battlefield but as their mission field?
Doug Hutchcraft says, “If you’re like me, it might take all of the self-control you have to not express your own frustrations about what’s going on in the world. But why be another loud and argumentative voice? Why not be the one that chooses to be the peacemaker? When was the last time you got into an argument on social media and actually convinced somebody of your viewpoint? It’s more our heart to want to be right than to want peace.
“Like any other medium, it’s not that social media is good or bad, but rather how we choose to use it.”
Hutchcraft says, “It was amazing – even though it’s an online thing and you’re not in the same room – how much God used that.”
When we set aside our personal agendas on social media, it opens the door for Gospel-focused interactions like this.
So what does it look like to engage social media day-after-day with the mindset of an ambassador for Christ?
If a friend or family member seems like they are struggling on social media, reach out to them! You can send a note of encouragement, ask how you can pray for them, or even invite them to join a virtual Bible study with you.
Also, when we feel attacked or offended by something on social media, Hutchcraft says we need to replace our own agendas and pride with the Gospel.
“In 1 Corinthians 9:12… the Apostle Paul who was being thrown in jail, who has been almost murdered a couple of times, he says, ‘I will put up with anything rather than get in the way of what the Gospel is trying to communicate.’”
Hutchcraft says, “My rule as a communicator has to be, ‘Could this encumber the Gospel? Could this give people a reason to continue to reject Jesus?’ They already have those reasons perhaps because of other Christians they’ve met. But when they’re through reading what you’re writing, maybe you could be the one that is a magnet for who Jesus is.”
Finally, pray. When you see a post from someone on social media and the Holy Spirit stirs your heart, pray for them. And if you’re getting ready to write a post, type a comment, or share something, stop and pray about it first.
Prayer sounds so simple, but it’s easy to forget.
“How about even how many of us actually pray right before we go on Facebook?” Hutchcraft asks. “How many of us actually pray right before we go post something on Instagram?
“People need every day for someone to be the salt and the light and to know what a merciful God looks like.”