As Jesus addressed the religious leaders of his day, he said to them, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt. 12:34). In saying this, Jesus is informing us that our words reveal our hearts. Whether our heart is evil or good will be evidenced by our words. Simple enough, huh? But what about social media? Would Jesus say, “For out of the abundance of the heart the fingers type and post?”
He most certainly would! Our use of social media evidences a great deal about our hearts. It reveals our passions, our sin patterns, our likes, and even our dislikes. To peruse someone’s social media account is to probe the inner workings of their heart, and it allows you to really get to know them. The sad reality, however, is that our social media usage usually doesn’t reveal the good within us. It usually magnifies the evil in us. As I have followed Christ for ten years, I have noticed this in my own life as well as in the lives of others. In what follows, I have described certain Christian’s use of social media. As I wrote this, I noticed that I myself have been guilty of some of these uses of social media. I am sure you will see that you have been guilty of some of these as well. So let’s look at our first individual.
Mr. Intellect has seen that contemporary evangelicalism is filled with shallow theology and rampant pragmatism. He has perceived that many Christians on his social media timeline spend a bulk of their time grasping after spiritual experiences that will give them glory-bumps (goosebumps from the Holy Spirit). He has become cognizant that most of the Christians he follows look for thrills from the Holy Spirit rather than doctrinal understanding from the Holy Spirit.
As he sees this, he develops a resolve to use his intellect mightily in knowing the things of God. His end, however, is not to know God. It is to know theology, to post about theology, and to destroy those who have neglected to study theology. In every post, Mr. Intellect seems rigid, argumentative, and critical. In his social media interactions, he is precise doctrinally, but he lacks the fruit of the Spirit. Though you find yourself agreeing with him in matters of theology, you also find yourself squirming at the trail of destruction he leaves behind.
Mr. Hypocrite knows his stuff. He can tell you that a husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. As a parent, he can inform you that a parent is to raise their kids up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. And he uses his social media platform to show you that he knows and even seemingly does these things. He’s always posting pictures of both he and his wife with a hashtag saying, “#simplyblessed!” And he’s always eager to share a video of his kids quoting the latest memory verses from Awana.
Before long, though, you find that Mr. Hypocrite has another face. His marriage lies in ruins because he has had an affair with another woman. In the midst of this, he finds himself in a divorce that has become public knowledge. Not only this, it is apparent that his kids have gone off the deep end. Of course, this is not entirely his fault. The kids have a sin nature that pulls them towards sin. However, people can’t help but see that many of their ungodly mannerisms come from their father. Even though Mr. Hypocrite’s other face is becoming public knowledge, he steadily post spiritual things on Facebook in hopes to maintain some semblance of Christian character.
Mr. Doomsday loves the apocalyptic writings of the Bible, and he has dedicated himself to studying these notoriously difficult sections of Scripture. Finally, his laborious study has paid off. Though Jesus Christ said that no one knows the day or hour of His second coming, Mr. Doomsday has finally unlocked the mysterious time.
After linking his religious, political, and American heritage together, he has discovered that Christ’s second coming is directly linked to the mark of the beast, the conservative party, and America as a whole. After making these remarkably in depth connections, every social media post is used as a means to propagate his understanding of the end times.
Mr. Self-pity intellectually believes in a good and sovereign God that is working all things in accordance with His inscrutable will. He intellectually believes that Christ loved him and gave His life for him. These, though, are not enough for him to be content and satisfied in this life. He also needs the pity of others.
With this in mind, he always takes to social media to seek the pity of his followers in regard to his current life circumstances. In his efforts to seek pity, he does what any socially aware person would never do. . . he takes to mainstream social media platforms in order to tell everybody about how terrible his day has been, how unfortunate he is, and how discouraged he has been. Slowly but surely somebody takes the bait and begins to pity him. As this happens, he comforts himself knowing that there are people out there that really care about how terrible his life is.
Mr. Passive Aggressive
Mr. Passive Aggressive prides himself as being a religious zealot. He is fanatically committed to attacking the thoughts and beliefs of other people. . . . especially other Christians. In his own eyes, he is a religious reformer zealously seeking the advancement of truth in the midst of a world of falsehood. Though certain aspects of Mr. Passive Aggressive are admirable, he tends to be somewhat of a spiritual coward.
Rather than attacking the thoughts and beliefs of other people to their face, he takes to his social media platforms to do it. Since he knows that it would be frowned upon to aggressively attack someone directly on social media, he does it passively. Behind all of his posts and tweets there’s a target. Those who know him well know the target he is aiming at. Those who do not know him well are unaware of his target, and of the passive aggressive nature of his post. And after each social media post, he takes off his spiritual armor thinking of himself as a conquering warrior in the battle for the truth.
Mr. Narcissist believes in a self-giving God that loves and cherishes humility in His children. He prays earnestly and consistently for humility just so that he can be admired for it. And he has an intense desire to advance the kingdom of God so that both he and God might be known among the nations.
One of the key methods that Mr. Narcissist uses for the advancement of the kingdom of God is the promotion of self. His social media pages are laden with pictures and videos of himself. Every single post that he sends out onto the timeline of others has something to do with himself. He knows deep down in the inner recesses of his heart that, if he could just get people to understand that evangelical Christianity looks a lot like him, then the kingdom of God would begin to grow.
Mr. Facetious is a funny guy and he knows it. Though he takes great joy in joking about sports, politics, t.v. shows, and the latest movies, he at times jokes about heavenly things. Granted, there are times where sarcasm and humor can be used well and for the glory of God, but this guy has a knack for being facetious about weighty eternal truths.
Mr. Facetious finds the most humorous GIFs or memes when talking about Jesus, hell, unbelief, sexual immorality, and homosexuality. Solemnity is foreign to his social media accounts. As one wades through his social media platforms, it becomes apparent that Mr. Facetious has one agenda. . . . making people laugh. . . .regardless of what heavenly topic he has to trivialize in doing so.
Mr. Political is a citizen of the kingdom of God, but he is also overwhelmingly preoccupied with current events. He reads, investigates, and evaluates what is going on in the kingdoms of this world. . . . especially with America (God’s chosen kingdom of this world). And Mr. Political is not content to keep this information to himself. He must use his social media platforms to inform everybody of his latest political insights.
As one looks through his social media accounts, it seems that Mr. Political believes that God is sovereign over the rise and fall of kings and their kingdoms, but that he also believes that the latest political event is going to destroy and thwart God’s sovereign plan. He seemingly believes that God works all things for good, but that the current political policies being passed are going to ruin the lives of all Christians. Of all the political pundits one should listen too, Mr. Political tops them all. He has no biases or presuppositions that cloud his judgments, posts, or political ideologies.
Mr. Pot-Stirrer is well aware that the Bible contains hundreds, even thousands, of encouraging and edifying teachings. He knows and understands that he could post helpful and encouring insights from the Bible on his social media timeline. This use of social media, however, is unappealing to him.
He would rather use his social media influence to talk about the latest and most controversial topic. In doing this, he knows that heated discussions will follow. His minions will love his posts while his critics will be enraged by them. His minions will be stirred up to like his insights on the latest and most controversial topic. His critics will be stirred up to get in a heated exchange with him over his insights on the latest and most controversial topic. And as his followers, both his minions and his critics, are stirred up, it stirs him up to continue being the pot-stirrer he is!
Who Are You?
We could creatively come up with more, but with what has been said, who are you? How might you strive to use social media in a way that honors God? How might you utilize your social media platforms to adorn the gospel of Jesus Christ? A proper use of social media is possible. It just takes intentionality and prayer!