We all do it. Heck, even I do it. We post something online and think it's going to a handful of people. Usually the handful, in our minds, are the people closest to us, or that we communicate with regularly. Or possibly, some or all of the handful, are the few people you loathe, or think less of, or see as those you want to "show" who's who. When we use social media, the people we mostly engage with, is who we mostly target. It's just the way our brains work. Think about it. When was the last time you went through your friends list? Because if you're like me, (and I honestly only approve friend requests from people I actually know) there's a CRAP-ton of people you hardly talk with, not that they aren't really your friends or anything, but there are. Some of us even approve acquaintances, and friends of friends. But when we actually click the "post" button, we have a select few in our minds for the post. Maybe we are posting pictures of our kids, for family who lives and loves from far away, to see and feel as though they're closer. Maybe we are linking people with like-minded interests, to an interesting article, in order to spur on thoughts and conversation. Maybe we are posting about our hard-core belief system, because we are so passionate about the truth we see in the words posted. Or maybe not. Maybe we are posting words to stir up conflict, and divisive attitudes. The kind that start as "interesting debate" and end in hateful, blistering arguments. Maybe we are posting controversial material, not in hopes of swaying the already swayed- because they already know- but to rattle the imaginary chains we've created on the people with different opinions, "bound" to "their" perspectives that aren't our own. Maybe we want to passively- or dare I say cowardly- poke at an issue, that we would otherwise leave alone if it weren't for the safe arms of "Facebook" or the protective wall of "twitter" to stand between us and the public. Because let's be honest: in a natural, human setting, where people gather together and "act" civil, you wouldn't mention it; much less stand at the front of the room, and proclaim such diverse opinions in hopes of a political, moral, ethical, or logical battle. Because the truth is, none of us is prepared enough to grapple with both reasoning of the opposite side, and real human emotions. But then again, social media takes out that part of the equation, doesn't it? Behind profile pictures and "about-me" columns, is the safety of emotionless, de-humanized, digitalized "persons", if you can even call them that. But they are. Persons that is. See, in the last month, I've gotten a few messages from friends desperately asking for "guidance" or "help" when it comes to the Bible and Jesus. And it's not a testament to me, by any means. Because I'm just like any of you- trying to make it in a cold dark world, while I carry the Light of Hope inside. But the people who have messaged me, although true friends - mostly from another season of life, amaze me... because they aren't in my direct sphere of influence. In the last month, I've realized the potential and possibility of social media and the internet as a platform for Jesus, like I've never understood before. Yeah, it's big and I knew that. Yes, I can "connect" with people all over the world, I knew that. But it's bigger than I can comprehend. And I'm just now getting a glimpse into the vastness. As big as it is- it pales in comparison to the bigness of my God. He's more grand than social media, the web, the world. And if you're reading this, I'm so glad I got to tell you. But I post all of this to say: the world is watching. The big, daunting world is aware of what we, the church, are posting, quoting, saying, and sharing. I don't care if you thought you were sending the information to your neighbor, your BFF, your spouse...whatever. The list of "friends" you have, is much larger than you realize. And the message you send with each click, post, like, or share, is heard both in eternity and globally. If it's a cause for justice...make your case. If it's a campaign for the powerless...stake your claim. But as believers, we can't minimize the effect of bickering, arguing, or "friendly debate" on controversial posts...because it translates to "friendly fire" to the onlookers of the world. The world can love, and empathize, and give, and care just as well as the church. The difference is that the church is supposed to be a place of unity. And there is no church...whether mega-church, local-church, or home-church if we can't get along. Stop posting for the sake of yourselves. We are living in a critical time. We have access to things that past generations could only dream up and make movies about. The unbelieving, and dying world is watching. So post accordingly, with eternity in view. The newfound awareness of the bigness of the web, has me hopeful. It means that you and I can share Jesus with just about anyone. But it also has me terrified. Because it means that the label of "Jesus" can be placed on just about anyone, too. Our posts should be worthy of that label. It's time to rise up, and give the world something to watch, Something to like, share, view, and proclaim: that our God is big, and good, and reigning, and supreme; and His people are unified, under the cause of Christ, for a single purpose: to go and tell, and make disciples. With every click...think about who you're sharing with. Because it's more than the 12 or so people you thought. People like to watch people. It's why reality tv has taken off, and continues to air. Give them something to watch that's worth watching. And I will too.
Bri is the mom to four little people, the wife to a gentle giant, and a lover of Jesus. She's figuring out the best ways to parent by trial and error, and sharing her struggles, successes, and stories with you!