Social media and Christian love
February 25th, 2013 | John Plake
I am aware that we live in an electronically connected age. Instant communication via social media has great power and utility in each of our lives. However, it is also true that social media sometimes increase the magnitude of communication’s consequences by leveraging a large audience for both legitimate and ill-considered commentary.
In a Christian learning community we must exercise our freedoms of thought, opinion and expression within a context of love for one another (Ephesians 4:1-16). We are a diverse group of people, but Christ’s sacrifice unites us. In light of God’s love for us, I urge you to temper your desire to post a clever or even an insightful comment on social media with our mutual Christian responsibility to love one another (1 John 3:11-24).
At times when you have legitimate issues to discuss, I urge you to take them up personally and lovingly with the one who has caused the offense (Matthew 18:15-20). Our humor should not single out particular members or our university community (students, faculty, or staff) for ridicule, humiliation or shame. Our critical thinking must be harnessed to God’s redemptive purposes (1 Corinthians 8:1-2). Otherwise, we usurp God’s rightful place in his own family, thinking that our critiques are more important than God’s goal for all of us.
The Apostle Paul wrote:
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:3-10).
I believe that this ancient wisdom still applies in our connected world, and I urge you to exercise both judgment and Christian love when you choose to use social media. The vast majority of Evangel University students has always exercised loving discretion in their use of social media. Thank you for that. To all of our students, thank you for your consideration.