Friday, July 27, 2012

Walk in Wisdom Toward Outsiders...on Facebook

I got over 200 likes when I posted the first picture of my newborn. Since then, almost every picture of my cute baby has received about 30-60+ clicks of approval. And those numbers only represent people who publicly acknowledged interest. Who knows how many eyes actually saw my Facebook page?

Or, to put it another way, how many souls are (through social media) observing my life?

For many lost people, Facebook might be their only exposure to Christianity. Granted, most Christian Facebook users are not going through such a newsworthy, stalkable life event as having a child, but we cannot be negligent of the fact that we are being watched by believers and non-believers and we must be careful to not waste our platform.

1 Corinthians 5:19,20 says "we are ambassadors for Christ, God making Hos appeal through us" and that He has entrusted to us the message of reconciliation. It is very easy to, in trying to impress our churchgoing Facebook friends, forget our lost audience and send mixed messages.

We Calvinists especially might unintentionally show the world an inconsistent view of God. In the morning we'll post an encouraging verse or quote about God's sovereignty, then by the evening we'll have a witty/sarcastic post complaining about the incompetent fast food employee and the guy who cut us off on our way home. "Well, which is it?" a lost person might wonder. Does God withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly, or does He regret that those inconveniences happened to you?
Philippians 2:14,15 never fails to convict me, and I think it's helpful to apply it also to my Facebook statuses.
"Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world."

We also can be insensitive to the weaker brothers (who are merely in the same place we were probably not that long ago) by posting humorous pictures or videos about the latest theological fumble a Christian public figure made. It's important to contend for the faith (Jude 3) but there are more effective ways of combating false doctrine than poking fun at it. If an Arminian brother or sister sees that we publicly belittle their soteriology, they might feel ashamed and we might become unapproachable. Far more seriously, if someone is being misled by the prosperity gospel, cheap jokes about Joel Osteen's white teeth won't help anyone come to knowledge of the truth and might only leave confusion. May we embrace the exhortation of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 to "admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all."

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