Creating a Christ-Centered Social Media Presence
In the digital age, we’ve all found ourselves entangled in online conversations on social media platforms that often devolve into unproductive exchanges of harsh words sent into the virtual ether. We’ve witnessed social media being used for purposes that run counter to Christian values, where echo chambers echo endlessly with one-sided dialogue. It’s a space where conspiracy theories can flourish, and the toxic air of hate speech is sometimes tolerated. This is not the way of Christ; it is not relational.
Our actions on social media can have consequences that extend far beyond the screens in front of us, and every time we choose not to emulate Jesus in our online interactions, we risk causing harm to others and ourselves.
Yet, many may not fully grasp the true cost of their words and actions in the digital realm. It is high time that we recognise that social media is not an exemption from responsibility for our online conduct.
We must relinquish the misguided notion that we can say whatever we want on social media and instead embrace the power to communicate messages that uplift and edify. By doing so, we can wield social media as a tool for positive change.
Living and loving like Jesus on social media is entirely achievable, and we can glorify God through our online activities.
To guide us in this endeavor, here are a few principles to steer us in the right direction:
- Prioritise Connection Over Attention
There are two types of social media users: those who seek to make it all about themselves, and those who approach it with a mindset of fostering genuine connections. Social media was designed for the latter. This doesn’t mean you can’t share your work or experiences; it means you shouldn’t seek validation through likes and comments. Strive to connect with others genuinely.
- Be Transparent, but Discerning
Jesus shared personal information with His disciples, not with the entire world. Similarly, we should aim to be transparent with those who genuinely care about us and are a part of our real-life community. While social media offers a window into our lives, not everything needs to be laid bare for the world to see. Be transparent but exercise discernment, especially with personal matters.
- Reflect on Your Words
Ask yourself if you could say the same things in front of someone face to face. Social media can distance us from the impact of our words, but our words still have real consequences. If you wouldn’t say something in person, it may be best left unsaid online.
- Live What You Preach
Rather than solely espousing beliefs on social media, put them into practice in your daily life, just as Jesus did. It’s one thing to articulate a message, but it’s far more powerful when it is lived out in your actions.
- Practice Active Listening
On social media, we often rush to voice our opinions, which can lead to unproductive arguments and misunderstandings. Take the time to carefully read and understand what others are saying before responding. Listening is an essential part of productive online interactions.
- Share Diverse Perspectives
Avoid contributing to echo chambers by sharing articles and opinions that challenge your beliefs. Don’t solely propagate content that aligns with your ideology. Demonstrating a willingness to engage with diverse viewpoints showcases the love of Christ and promotes healthy dialogue.
- Reject Racial Insensitivity
It should go without saying, but let it be explicitly stated: there is no place for racist comments or stereotypes on social media. Remember, your audience extends beyond your immediate circle, and the world desperately needs less of such divisive rhetoric.
- Be Constructive, Not Destructive
When critiquing or offering feedback to others, particularly artists or bloggers, choose a constructive approach. Encourage growth and improvement rather than tearing down their work. Every critique should aim to help them evolve in a positive and gentle manner.
Navigating the world of social media can be fraught with challenges, but it is possible to live in accordance with the teachings of Jesus. To do so, we must let go of the false sense of power that leads us to believe we can act with impunity online and instead embrace the love and character of Jesus Christ as the guiding principles for our online interactions.
Ultimately, it is our words and actions that will make a meaningful impact in the digital realm.
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