The Need for Grace in Social Media


Sometimes I think social media and the Internet is like smoking around a gas truck. And that can be both good and bad. Good when an idea worth sharing explodes. Bad when you’re covered in soot and wondering why you ever thought whatever you posted was funny.

I often think I’m wittier than I really am – just ask my wife, Janel. She’s my immediate filter for all things I write and consider humorous. I wish I had her around for those moments when I was on deadline; it quite possibly might end those dreadful phrases I try to spin. But unfortunately, I don’t run everything by her that I want to say. That’s when I’ve been known to make tasteless or unfunny comments that sounded great in my head. Ooops! I just can’t get those words back.

Which brings me back to the dangers of social media – for all parties involved.

I was disappointed to watch one man God is using in incredible ways post a tasteless comment on his Facebook page. It wasn’t funny or loving or representative of Christ in any way. Negative responses from people in his circle of influence led to its removal.

I was also disappointed to watch other Christian bloggers who have never met this man or know him personally turn on him like a pack of rabid wolves. It’s one thing to point out unbiblical teaching; it’s another to assassinate a man’s character.

We’re all relatively new to this open public forum of social media and the Internet, which underscores the fact that we must handle it with greater care and sensitivity. In a phrase: be gracious.

Be gracious in what you post. Be gracious in how you respond. Don’t marginalize people who love Jesus too just because they’re different. Don’t start some campaign to get a pastor disciplined who you don’t know and whose church you don’t attend. One Westboro Baptist is one too many.

Instead, trust that the Holy Spirit is at work in people’s hearts and can help them discern the truth. Encourage people to seek God’s Word for discernment. Outsiders to the Christian faith think Christians are judgmental and harsh because we are sometimes.

Finally, let’s remember the Apostle Paul says:

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Colossians 4:6 (NIV)

And let’s apply that to our social media platforms as well, seeking to be full of grace in both what we initiate and how we respond.

Question: Have you ever posted something on a social media channel and regretted it? What did you do? How did others respond?

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