What would Jesus say on Facebook, social media?

Published 12:01 am Saturday, July 18, 2015

Social media has changed our lives in many ways. Watch people at restaurants, in meetings, or even during church, and you will see them staring at their glowing smart phones.

Granted some people read their Bible on a smart phone nowadays, which gives new meaning to the minister’s sermon text; but, most often in public places people will be scrolling through their Facebook news feed or posting “what’s on their mind.”

Social media has changed the way we communicate. We discuss, comment, and share messages via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many other social networks.

I did some research about Facebook, and the statistics are staggering. Facebook, founded in 2004, now has 936 million daily active users as of March 2015. Approximately 83 percent of these daily users live outside the U.S. and Canada. There are 1.44 billion users worldwide.

Social media can devour our time, distracting us from more important matters of life. According to marketing research, the average American spends 40 minutes a day on Facebook. We are probably the most connected, but sometimes the loneliest people because cyber-communication cannot replace face-to-face conversation.

Awhile back I read an article online that got me to thinking. The title asked, “What would Jesus say on Social Media?” and the author shared several thoughtful points and I’ve added points of my own.

Pray before you post. Sounds simple, but too often it’s easy to type a kneejerk reaction to a heated topic or message. Imagine the person or a group of your Facebook friends sitting next to you and imagine your words spoken out loud.

If you are like me, you have Facebook friends who are conservative, and friends who are liberal. Sometimes it seems like we are screaming at each other as we argue our points. Before you post or repost a message or link, be sure to research the subject for yourself. Internet sources are not always accurate. Do you have enough knowledge on a topic to say something about it?

Ask yourself if you know the person well enough to make a comment. Do you have a relationship with person to whom you offer your opinion? Facebook can be used to make a positive impact in life situations. Almost daily, I read that someone needs prayer due to sickness, crisis, or grief. An instant prayer chain begins as friends chime in their promise to pray. Sometimes a friend will type a prayer in response to a need. It reminds me of Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”

The Apostle Paul never imagined Facebook when he wrote these words, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

But, I believe his words apply to social media today. Whatsoever you post, speak the truth; but do so in love and grace.

-Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at jwhite@andycable.com.