Having to deal with the “extra contractual obligations” that come with being a Christian on social media.
WHAT I’M WEARING:
Recently I’ve been lurking in the comments of Christian social media influencers in order to gain wisdom on how to handle criticism, rebuke, and/or simply pure hatred from others on their pages. Now I won’t mention any names but there have been some who have handled these comments the way Christ would; and then there are some who mess up their witness as a result of how they respond to criticisms and hateful comments.
This morning during my quiet time with God, I read several scriptures that should be used when applying wisdom in this area. Unfortunately, our generation of Christians hate rebuke. We hate “judgment.” We hate being corrected. We hate when others try to discipline us. I’m not sure exactly why that is, but it’s just how it goes.
One of the most misapplied scriptures in the Bible is Luke 6:37 Judge not, and the shall not be judged….
What’s so interesting is that Jesus is not necessarily saying that we SHOULDN’T judge, rather He is saying if you DO NOT JUDGE, You WILL NOT be judged. Jesus is also speaking of HYPOCRISY here. The issue was not exactly about judgment. If I correct you in love about your fornication, yet I fornicate myself, I am a hypocrite and in no place to cast judgment.
As believers, we are called to judge others in the faith. I always tell my readers and friends to hold me accountable for the life I live and the life I portray on social media. Because the truth is, sometimes we sin in ignorance, right? Sometimes I do things because I’m not thinking of it as a sin or how it can question my witness as a follower of Christ. So at that point, a more mature Christian in the faith, one led by the Holy Spirit, can correct me in love and IN PRIVATE about my offense.
But what happens when you’re corrected in public and you become defensive and offensive? How is that helping your witness as a believer? The Bible says in James 3:1-2 My brethren, be not many masters knowing that we shall receive greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
Teachers of the gospel (including witnesses on social media) are constantly offending others. As a result, teachers have to be prepared for criticism and offense! You cannot respond offensively because someone is judging you. You have to deal with it in a way that is pleasing in God’s sight; and in a way that shows that you are mature in the faith.
Example- this outfit I am wearing above, right. Imagine if another believer comments on my picture: “As a Christian, you shouldn’t be wearing tight jeans.” Now is it helpful to respond by saying “Where in the Bible does it say I can’t wear tight jeans? Stop judging me and placing your own convictions on me!”
No! This isn’t an appropriate way for me to respond. Rather I could ask if they would mind telling me via private message why they think my dressing is inappropriate. After all, my jeans are actually tight. And it could potentially lead others to sin with lustful desires. So rebuking me in love and in a PRIVATE way could help in my conviction; and in the future make me more sensitive to what I put on my body. Remember Jesus tells us in Matthew 18: 15, If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.
The Bible also tells us in James 3:18 that the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Rebuking someone on a public platform is NOT sowing peace. And neither is responding offensively. We have to be mindful of this as Christians on social media platforms. Handling these issues without care, shows those in the world that we are divided and a divided people cannot STAND!