Meanderings of a Minister


The Ten Commandments of Christian Social Media, Part I

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Craig Groeschel is the author of Lifechurch.tv.  This is a multi-campus church that reaches several thousand people each week.  Craig has written a new book, #struggles.  In this book, he asks the question if we are addicted to social media.  Are we more impacted by and committed to social media than we are to the One we call our Lord.  After eight chapters designed at helping us to see our problem, redirect our attention and refocus our lives, Groeschel listed the Ten Commandments of how a Christian should treat social media.  I found this list helpful and thought I would pass it along as a means of helping us to loosen the grip social media has on us, but also as a means of ensuring that our use of social media reflects the relationship with Christ we claim.

First, put God first in all you say and post.  It is too easy to use the distance of social media to embolden us to be ruder than we would be in person.  It can enable us to be careless or even to be deceptive in only showing others what we want them to see or to even try to fool them into thinking we are more than we really are.

Second, love others as you want to be loved.  What does this mean in social media?  Don’t be unnecessarily harsh, critical or demeaning on social media.  Just because you can respond to something does not mean you should.  There are some things we let go in real life, but feel we must say something on the web.  In addition, you should “like” people and things online as much as you wish others would like or repost your stuff online.

Third, we must use social media to facilitate, not replace, real relationships.  It is much easier to sit behind your desk and comment on posts than to actually go have a conversation with someone.  It is much easier to send an instant message telling someone you are sorry for their loss than it is to actually go and visit them and hug them and look into their tear-reddened eyes and suffer with them.  Don’t allow virtual relationships to replace actual relationships.

Fourth, use social media instead of being controlled by it as an idol.  We must make sure that a good thing never becomes the ultimate thing.  If your cell phone is the last thing you check before you go to sleep, and the first thing you check in the morning when your eyes open, then you have a problem.  Social media has become an idol.  It is something that can control our moods, schedules, and even where we will travel.  This is the place of a master and Christians have said Jesus holds that place.

Fifth, turn your virtual cheek to posts that offend you.  Again, just because you can respond does not mean that you should.  When someone posts something against your favorite team, school, restaurant, or even your church or religion, you don’t have to respond.  I know this sounds like I am saying you should be ashamed of the Lord, but that is not the point at all.  When someone posts a blast like this, they are egging people on to engage in online warfare.  They are not interested in open debate and are not willing to consider anything other than their point of view, so engaging them is a lot like wrestling with a pig in the pigpen.  You both will get dirty, but they like it!  You don’t have to respond.

This is just the first half of the Ten Commandments of Christian Social media, but even just following these five would already eliminate much of the poor testimony of many Christians when using social media.  Just following these five brief instructions would take the teeth out of the criticisms of many online that Christians are hateful, uncaring, and hypocritical.  Look for the final five next week.

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