Do you use Facebook? Twitter? Other social media sites? Here are two common responses to this question:
1. “No, I think it is a total waste of time and a playing field for the enemy.”
2. “Yes, I connect with people there and I enjoy it."
On the surface, both of those responses seem right for that person and there is not much to debate. But let’s dig a little deeper and take a look at our own motives for using (or not using) social media.
Nobody will deny that bad things happen on social media. Like anything else in this fallen world, it can be used for evil. But does that really make it evil in and of itself? Of course not. Nobody will deny that good things happen on social media. But does that make it good in and of itself? Of course not.
1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.
There are all kinds of reasons that people use social media. Connection. Friendship. Curiosity. Knowledge. Idea sharing. And more.
There are also all kinds of reasons that people choose not to use social media. Time. Temptation. Preference. Idolatry. And more.
Sometimes the person who uses social media proudly proclaims that this is where they find connection with friends and family, they find it fun, and they do not see it as a time-waster. Sometimes the person who does not use social media proudly proclaims that it is an ungodly place that the devil controls, and they choose to not let something use up their time or become an idol in their life.
All of the reasons both people gave are valid, and true for them. But there is one word that I hope you notice in the descriptions above… PROUDLY. Even the best sounding motives are not truly godly if pride is their driving force. We all have freedom in Christ to use and enjoy social media (as long as we are not using it for evil of course.) Those who use it do not need to defend themselves or prove the value in it to others - it falls under the area of one’s free will. For those who choose not to use it, they also do not need to defend themselves to prove their stand. They, too, are exercising free will.
Taking this in a different direction, I would offer this question to those who will not consider using social media: Have you considered the redemptive uses for technology?
If you are counseling or mentoring the younger generation, I personally believe that you should consider being present on social media. Before you get upset with me, hear me out. I am NOT saying that it is a requirement of some sort - I realize there are circumstances in life that prevent you from using a computer or being online. You can absolutely still counsel and mentor a young person without these tools. And that is exactly what social media is - a TOOL. Assuming you have access to this tool because you are reading this online, I am addressing you and encouraging you to be where the people are.
Jesus Himself is our example. Someone asked me recently if I thought that Jesus would be on Facebook if it had been an option. That’s a silly question, but tongue-in-cheek I answered “yes, I think He would have been on Facebook.” I can’t back that up in Scripture, but I CAN back up the concept that Jesus went where the people were and met them there. It is all over the New Testament!
In my ministry, as I mentor teens and young adults, I find that if I use social media as one avenue of connection with them, they respond with appreciation and gratitude. I have been thanked several times for my willingness to use Facebook to message with someone rather than call (rarely do they talk on the phone these days! Nor do they email much!) I do meet face to face with my mentees, but between our times together we stay in touch primarily on Facebook. That is not my choice, it’s their choice, so that’s where I go to find them. That is my way of redeeming Facebook! I use it for ministry, and I have grown to appreciate and yes, even enjoy it.
A teen once said “you are cool for your age because you use and iPhone to text and you use Facebook.” I got a kick out of that, but my goal is not to be cool. My goal is to reach the next generation with the hope of the Gospel and to disciple them in God’s Word. I only have to look as far as my Facebook friends list to find opportunity.
Mark 16:15 "He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."
Perhaps “all the world” could include social media in our current culture! I think it does. If that is where the people are that you hope to reach for Christ’s sake, then go there. You might even have fun and make some good connections!
The younger generation is on social media. It is not going away, and we are not going to be able to change that fact. So rather than spend energy proving the downfall of the internet and all the dangers and snares available there, let’s REDEEM SOCIAL MEDIA. Let’s take it and use it to spread Good News. It’s a wide open mission-field!
Yes, let’s do be careful on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere. Our flesh can be weak. Let’s keep our armor on, and be wise and prudent. But because we are free in Christ to use these tools, we need not fear them. Instead, let’s redeem them!
Galatians 5:13 "For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."