Matthew 5:14-16, Romans 12:2

Dale Eland considers how Christians should use social media.

Dale Eland
Dale Eland

I've been fascinated to observe the role media and social media play in society recently.

I have been interested to see how devious some reporters can be when writing articles that claim to be factual, yet have completely misrepresented the actual story. I have also been amused, (and sometimes horrified), at the response of the general public to these stories. Some are very gullible and some judgmental.

The Christian reaction has also caught my attention, which then got me thinking about what my role is, or should be, in a public media forum.

Essentially we are dealing with two groups of people. Those who are saved and serving Christ and those who are not.

Those who are saved and serving Christ are subject to a much higher standard. Paul appeals to us to, 'renew the mind' and 'not conform' to the pattern and thinking of this world, but instead be 'transformed'. This implies that even Christians are in danger of 'thinking like the world', unless they actively change the way they think.

It does sadden me to see how many Christians sound exactly like the world.

The second group is the unsaved, unrepentant heart, who are at various stages of their spiritual journey. Some are oblivious of any God, or even flatly refute there is a God. Some may agree there is a God, but choose not to serve Him. Some may even attend a church of sorts, but have not committed themselves to serving Christ.

Interestingly, this group is why we have been left on earth; they are our destiny and purpose. God's heart and love for the lost is overwhelming and immense. The length He went to, in order to get the attention of these people, is extreme to say the least. I am a living testimony of how far He had to reach to get hold of a lost and dying world.

So my question essentially is this, when we consider these two groups of people, what should our response and attitude be towards each of them?

The answer we chose is often critical in determining the relationship we have with our fellow 'brother' and our lost 'neighbour'.

Scripture is filled with instructions for us in dealing with both groups. Both however, involve a huge amount of love and sacrifice.

My next question is, are the same standards of living applicable to both groups?

If we understand that only once a person enters into that full commitment of relationship with Christ, can they possibly be expected to have the desire and ability to live up to that very high standard, then the judgemental attitudes towards unbelievers will evaporate. Prior to that watershed moment in their lives, our role is one of being the light in a dark world and reflecting Christ's love into their situation. As people are drawn by that aroma of love, they will be asking how they can have it as well.

The key element in all of this, is discernment in knowing which group a person is in and then determining a suitable response.

I have seen Christian 'spats' online; disagreements and public humiliation of each other. I have seen calls for the lost to be 'avenged' by God and the most terrible public mudslinging between 'saved' and 'unsaved'.

My personal feeling is that mostly internal 'family' issues (caring, counselling, discipline, etc.) should be kept private within the local church family, or between individuals and not be for the unbelieving world to dissect.

The loving accepting response to a dying world, can be public for all to see how big and gracious the God we serve is.

Either way, whichever group we are speaking to, our speech and actions should always be seasoned with love, particularly in a public forum, so that His light can shine forth. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.