Column: Ups and down of social media

Published 12:11 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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By Pastor Jason Green | Mineral Springs Baptist Church

Ahh…social medial. One of the most ingenious endeavors mankind has ever achieved. No where else can someone remain in communication, share life events and enjoy watching folks act like typical human beings. I’m a fan of social media, even though I also despise it.

I’m a fan of it because I thoroughly enjoy seeing what friends that I no longer have a chance to see often are up to. I enjoy celebrating with them, albeit from afar, marriages, birthdays and other big events. I also like knowing when things are not going well…as it gives me a chance to make their problems or heartaches a matter of prayer. I have friends for whom I care deeply scattered to the four winds of the world just as I have people right down the road for whom I deeply care with whom social media helps me remain connected. It’s a place to celebrate. It’s a place to share. It’s a place where I can also share from the Lord with a mass audience…far more than a Sunday from the pulpit allows. There are many wonderful uses for these social media platforms. So those who call it “of the devil” need to rethink their statement. It’s like anything else these days, it can be used for good, healthy purposes as well as the opposite.

Unfortunately, it’s a place for the hateful and ridiculous to gather to criticize and tear down. It’s a place where crackpots, conspiracy theorists and the just plain ignorant gather to spout off about things they don’t or can’t understand. Social media has become the gathering place, almost a feeding trough, for people looking for attention and looking to wreak havoc on businesses, communities and individuals. The truth of our character is going to be revealed. Scripture is clear on this premise. We can rock along day in and day out and try to hide our own malfunctions. But as long as we choose to remain what we’ve always been, those malfunctions are going to become visible. It’s the old cliche – it’s one thing for people to think you’re an idiot, it’s another thing to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

That’s what social media has become – a place for the once hidden ignorant, arrogant and vile to open their mouths via a keyboard, making us all aware of whom they are and what they are. We look at that as a bad thing – at least most of us do – when people act this way. The truth is, however, that those people are actually providing a community service. We no longer have to worry about who the crackpots are among us…they generally reveal themselves for all to see. Thank you, by the way.

The lesson is indeed a spiritual one. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything. If you can’t type something nice, don’t type anything. If you are constantly so irritated by the world around you that you just have to attack, attack, attack, spreading garbage, bad attitudes and even worse opinions, just hush. Put the phone down. Walk away from the tablet or the computer. The final step? Pray something like this:

“Lord please remind me I’m as jacked up as the person, place or thing I’m ranting about. Don’t let my bad day or bad attitude be a discouragement to someone. Give me something else to do besides being a on-line social terrorist and joy pirate. Let me see my own ignorance so that I can better appreciate someone else’s. Lord forgive me for forgetting that I’m not perfect. Help me encourage and lift instead of discourage and put down. And at the end of the day, remind me that my opinion doesn’t matter…only Yours does, and that my input is not needed or warranted because it isn’t helpful in the least. If I’m not speaking truth with mercy and grace, I’m just a resounding gong, a noisey cymbol in a world full of more useless noise.”