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Our friend Wesley Walker at www.studyyourbibleonline.com wrote this post on making sure we are Christlike while online on websites like Twitter and Facebook. The original post can be found here http://www.studyyourbibleonline.com/culture/is-there-no-shame/. I encourage you to check it out as well as the many other great articles Wesley posts on a weekly basis.
Facebook, Twitter, and other sites of the like, have opened us up to a new level of openness. Teens, Young adults, Parents, Grandparents, and sometimes even animals (I am friends with at least one dog on Facebook) share all sorts of details about themselves.
This can be a great tool. We are able to quickly see when someone is hurting. We are able to rejoice when something great happens in the life of someone. We hear good works and meet new people. We are able to spread the message of Christ across the globe with a single click. For these reasons, I believe that social media needs to be used by Christians and churches to the glory of God.
However, there is another aspect of social media that is troubling. It seems with our new open society that we have lost the idea of shame. Shame is the feeling one gets when they do something that is sinful. Shame is a good thing. If we do not feel shame then we have seared our conscience. Certain pictures, comments, discussions, groups, and “likes” show people have no problem broadcasting their sinful escapades and thoughts. As the prophet says, “Were they ashamed when they committed sin, NO! Nor did they know how to Blush.”
Let me give you a few reasons, why we need to reintroduce shame to the social media world:
1. Our Online footprint is search-able. Once something is posted it stays online and people will find it. This has real impact. Employers can now look at an “online” life. Sinful episodes can be quickly rehashed and shared across the world. Reputations can be destroyed with a click of the mouse, or a send from a cell phone.
2. Our Online life reflects on how others view our God. For most Christians their Facebook profile lists their religious affiliation (not a fan of the word, but couldn’t think of a better one). Usually the interests will say, “I love God” or “I just want to please my Savior.” They want people to associate them with Christ. That in itself is great. We should all want to be associated with Christ and let our relationship with Him be clearly seen. However, how much harm is done to the name of God (which is to be made Holy by His people) when what we post is not in line with His holiness.
3. God is technologically savvy. I think sometimes we forget that God can see what we are doing online. God is not hindered by online filters. What you do is seen by God. And as the Scriptures say we will be judged by every idle word, the same is true for every sinful tweet, status update, or picture. God sees, and sin, no matter in what arena, is an affront to His holiness.
All good things can be abused. And I’m seeing an abuse of social media that has lead to the glorification and promotion of sin. Sin should still bring shame and embarrassment.
By Wesley Walker (Wesley is the preacher for the Woodson Chapel Church of Christ in Nashville TN and holds a Masters of Divinity from Freed Hardeman University)