A study recently claimed that people under 35 in the UK spend over 3.5 hours on social media every day. I am not sure who they asked, but that seems pretty low to me! Maybe I just spend too much time on my phone! There are great things about social media. We all know how brilliant it is for quick communication, checking in on an old friend or relative we don’t often see, staying informed of the latest news or informing others about what is happening in our lives.
But I asked myself recently, “is everything I do, look at and interact with on social media good?”. As Christians we are encouraged by Paul to think about:
Whatever is true, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise.
Does social media help us to do this? Well, let’s examine the reality:
We all know the main dangers of social media – bullying, online abuse/blackmail and dangerous people pretending to be what they are not. But what about what we look at – the content? Do we ever stop and ask, is it good for me to look at this? Does it speak truth, or is it an illusion? Is it honourable or does the content dishonour the person who posted it, or others? Is it just or does it celebrate injustice? Is it pure or does it lead to impure thoughts and actions? Is it lovely or is it actually glorifying something that is ugly? Is it affirming or critical of something good? Is there anything worthy of praise for me to think on?
Even if we can satisfy ourselves in answering these questions well; that is we can say that we are not out-rightly sinning, I think it still really important to ask “Is what I am looking at or posting beneficial?”
But you might say: “Why is it important? Isn’t it just a picture, isn’t it just some words!” Well Paul also tells us:
‘All things are lawful’, but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful’, but not all things build up.
1 Corinthians 10:23
In other words you might say ‘I am allowed to do anything’ but not everything is good for you.
I am sure that we can use social media in a good way. For example, we can use it to:
- Be a witness of Christ to others
- Encourage others and be encouraged ourselves
- Do homework
- Keep in touch with friends and relatives
- Find out what is happening to Christians in other countries
- Follow and like those who will put out posts that will help us to praise God
The ultimate question is ‘Can I bring every thought and action that social media brings into my life, before the Lord Jesus being confident of His approval?’
We have probably all used social media in a sinful, selfish way. We make mistakes, but we are also told that by confessing our sin to the Lord Jesus and promising to turn away from it, we can be forgiven because of His death on the cross. Through the resurrection of Jesus those who trust in Him are given new life. Our thoughts and actions are not to be as before but renewed and pleasing before God.
- Ephesians 4:22-24 “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”