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FIRST-PERSON: Make social media kind again

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SBC Family,

I think it’s time to admit that we might have a problem. I have observed a growing, alarming trend over the last few years on social media. Maybe you have seen it too. Christians downright trash one another online as if that is a normal reaction to someone you disagree with. I have seen passive-aggressive quote tweets, screenshots, and sharp barbs lobbed back and forth as if we were engaged in some battle for Twitter supremacy. All the while, the world is going to hell. 

The question is why? Why is it that so many feel so comfortable with so vilifying and “straw-manning” one another?

I think there is no question we have a trust problem in the SBC. And I’m not even saying that that is a bad thing. We should expect transparency and accountability from leadership and from one another.

But is it possible we have a love problem in the SBC?

In one of the most beautiful, complicated, challenging passages in the New Testament Jesus tells His disciples how others will know they are a part of His family. Jesus simply says “By this all people will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35 HCSB). It is not challenging or complicated because Jesus was unclear in His directive; we are simply to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. But that’s often easier said and done. 

January is a great time to set the tone for the rest of the year. I pray that you would consider joining me in one resolution (and guardrail) that I have set for myself in 2022. 

Let’s let 2022 be the year we decide to not question any Christian publicly without first reaching out to them privately. 

To be clear, this is not always a rule that I have abided by. You can scroll through some of my posts and see that is the case. But I vow to do better because I know I have a duty to remove my own noise from this noisy world.

Let me give you a few reasons why I plan to work hard to be better to my brothers on social media by addressing issues on the phone or face-to-face rather than with a tweet or post.

It’s biblical. 

Shortly after Jesus establishes His Church, He sets up parameters for the restoration of a fallen brother or sister. Jesus knew we would inevitably sin against one another. His instruction was and is “if your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens, you have won your brother” (Matthew 18:16 HCSB).

Before we post, it’s a good idea to ask what the purpose of the post is. Restoration, and not winning an argument, should be at the forefront of our minds.

It protects our witness.

If it seems to you like we are a less kind society today, you are probably paying attention. The vitriol that even Christians have for one another is disheartening. I know not everything is puppies and unicorns and Twitter isn’t Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, but we can be better. I am certain that there are some who have seen the way that Christians tear down and demean one another on social media and decided they want no part of the church. 

It forces us to think hard about who we are and what we believe.

If you pause before you post, I believe it will help all of us see that not everything is a Gospel issue and not everyone who believes differently than us about supralapsarianism deserves to be burned at the stake. For sure, we fight it out over the Gospel, but not everything is that important. Going to our brother or sister privately will create a dialogue where we might find them to be faithful and not in folly. Moreover, it will cause us to think even deeper about that which we believe and help us to see why others differ.

Will you pray about joining me? Let’s take the dumpster fire that is evangelical social media and use it for the glory of God the building up of one another and the good of our community.