finding common ground

In the culture of social networks it is easier than ever to find common ground with another person. Anyone who has a profile, a website or has accepted you into their online community, has personally posted each piece of information because they’d like to share it with you. It’s an invitation to engage, not an invasion of privacy. People on the sidelines of social networking fear that once they get online, the whole world can see into their private information.

That simply is not true. People share the information they want to share.

You share the information you choose to share – period. Banking information, personal address, phone numbers, social security numbers, personal photos, and emails — stay private. (Well – as long as you decide to keep them that way or don’t blow it with a DM that misses the “direct” part.)

If someone posts in a status update...

This visit is lasting waaaay 2 long. Does anyone know where I get my mother-in-law a 1way tick to the moon? :O

It’s his or her post and choice.

You’ll see comments that are awkward, border on a pinch too personal, or are just plan TMI (too much information!) It happens. Expect it.  But if you’re serious about sharing your faith online, you need to take the personal bias out of the equation and read the comment through God’s eyes and just love right over them. The common ground eventually surfaces if you are willing to linger and look for it.

The upswing to social networks is that for some reason people tend to share information online that may have taken three months of lunch dates for them to divulge otherwise. This candor works in your favor if you are truly a student of evangelism, seeking to know others, and passionate about developing Christ-like relationships.

If you pay attention, the opportunity to offer a word of encouragement or share some light humor with a stranger appears. Before you know it –  that person is no longer a  stranger to you.

C.S. Lewis once said,

“Friendship is born the moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You, too! I thought I was the only one.’ “

What are some of the things that people post or publish that make you want to connect with them online?

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  • Melinda Y.

    The main voice that attracts me online is the one that is inspiring unity, love, empowers us to deepen our relationships with Christ and each other.
    There are some voices online that exist simply to impress or inflate their individual importance to society. A person’s power doesn’t persuade me. A person endeavoring to love others regardless of their annoyances or failures will ultimatley persuade me more. There are multiple types of people online and multiple perspectives. As the body of Christ, we continue learning to measure our words. In the course of time we will discover- “The common ground eventually surfaces if you are willing to linger and look for it.”

  • Debbie

    Thank you for this. I met someone from “away” a few years ago that I see every year or so when we vacation at the same spot. Because of social networking we can stay in touch.There has been “stuff” going on in her life that affords me the opportunity to minister to her (I don’t think she knows the Lord…yet). This post has got me thinking about that oppotunity a little differently (I know it was about “Friendship being born” through social networking, but you see how God uses things…it gets bigger than we think. :0) Anyway, I am going to do some praying about this. I’m hoping (and I’m pretty sure I will see this happen) that as we “chat” and interact via fb, Jesus will shine into her life.

    Thanks so much…and by-the-way, I love the phrase “just love right over them”…that’ll help me “love on ’em”. Bless you!

  • Tami Heim

    Excellent point Debbie – it can work both ways. I am grateful you mentioned it. You can either get connected to someone new or stay connected to someone you already know. Life is full of ‘stuff’ and God uses us to help each other through it. Praying with you for your friend and I know He will give you the wisdom you need to shine His love into her life. Bless you!

  • Tami Heim

    Melinda – when I read what draws you to someone – it is hard to not see the character of Christ in all of it. It reinforces how important it is for us to let Him reach others through us. I think of the quotes, “You may be the only Bible someone reads” or “You may be the only glimpse of Jesus someone will every see.” He has given the mandate and we have to be faithful. I appreciate you and how you let Him love others through you.

  • http://thebridegroomscafe.com Kmac4him

    I have been gifted by God as an “exhorter” or in simple terms an encourager. When people share out of their need, I feel the compassion of God to encourage them, to point them from the need to the Way-Maker, Jesus Christ! So, I am more apt to want to connect with those who do the same and those who have needs! I guess I simply love encouraging people, lifting thier spirits so they eventually fully face their God and see HOPE!

  • http://thebridegroomscafe.com Kmac4him

    I know what you mean! God is amazing how He can divinely connect us at the second of someone elses need… it is so cool and I love “divine appointments” they float my boat! LOL! Enjoy your day!

  • http://thebridegroomscafe.com Kmac4him

    I agree with Tami because that is what drew me to both of you, the love… the unconditional love I felt and the God inspiration, I knew that your tweets went deeper than self advantage unto God… Kingdom advantage… Sometimes I think we take for granted that God is using the internet for Kingdom advantage… it is one of His Kingdom tools and it can be a Kingdom Trade!!!

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  • Tami Heim

    What a gift to have this kind of clarity about what you are called to do and how to do it. Thanks for being faithful in the day to day flow Kim. Always know when you lift up one – you are lifting up all of us. So happy you are here with us.

  • http://twitter.com/SandraHeskaKing SandraHeskaKing

    I love connecting with folks who keep it real–who share their struggles and their faith and their day-to-day stuff, who shine and inspire, who share what they’ve learned, who make me laugh and cry.