May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. ~ Psalm 19:14, NIV
By Tami Heim
One evening while trying to get my mind around how Google + fit into my social media routine, I found myself in pause mode. An intense conversation between a small group of men caught my attention.
Dialog bounced back and forth like a Michigan hockey puck. Each person took his shot at vehemently recanting all the things he hated about Facebook. For me, hate is a strong word, but I found myself stuck there, nonetheless, listening.
As I watched the group churn through the conversation, they served up some pretty harsh stuff. Nothing I hadn’t heard before, just a familiar list of common Facebook grievances: people sharing their dining experiences, pokes, games, causes, invites, godfathers, farms, cows, and questionnaires. For what many would consider a tired and already played-out conversation, this one was unusually steeped in judgment and anger. Ouch.
So I checked out the profiles of everyone participating in the slam. Careful not to fall in the judgment trap myself, I looked for some context to frame all this hostility. Maybe there was a clue to it in their backgrounds. I was open to that possibility. What I discovered, however, was more painful than even their conversation.
All of them, somewhere in their personal bio, had boldly linked their life to Jesus Christ. I rippled through a few emotions myself and then, as a sister that claims that same Lord, I went back to the conversation and entered into it. Compelled by love. Grace tank full. I wasn’t present to any other option, but to lovingly change the tone and drift of this discussion.
‘Going in’ triggered a series of reminders about the gravity of living out my own faith on Google + and beyond.
Here are the 10 lessons I’m praying will stick and continue to transform my heart…
#1. As a Christ follower – I represent Him. When I make my public claim to His Lordship, my life interprets Him to the rest of the world. When others see me – they evaluate and make conclusions about the God I serve. (Romans 13:14)
#2. Who I am in Christ is 24/7. That’s right, it’s not for an hour, a day, a week, or even for the balance of this lifetime – who I am in Christ is stamped with an eternal timeline. (1 John 2:25)
#3. I’ve been commissioned. While I know His grace covers me when I fall, my commission to deliver His Message in the unadorned clay pot of my ordinary life comes with no authorized breaks for murmuring, complaining, or fault-finding. I must be on guard always to resist this temptation as it’s ever-present waiting to drag me away. (Jude 1:16)
#4. I can’t live it on my own. As the old hymn says, ‘Prone to wander, Lord I feel it,’ I need the Holy Spirit to seal it. Only He can keep me in check and accountable to my calling in Christ. I want Him to use my brothers and sisters in the faith to hold me accountable, too. (Ephesians 1:13)
#5. A soft answer really does turn away wrath. It’s absolutely possible to redirect the flow of vitriolic conversations with a whisper of love. It’s urgent I exercise that wisdom more often than I do. The truth can be spoken gently in love. (Proverbs 15:1)
#6. All I do serves to make Him known. Social media is another glorious way to share Jesus. As people engage online for billions of minutes each month, I’ve been assigned and empowered to dent the darkness with His light and truth. Whether I am online or off, it all matters in the sequence of God’s plan. (I Peter 2:9)
#7. People are lonely and searching. So many today are desperate for a way to connect and find a place to belong – to abide. They’re trying to find their way and social media is the dominant way this generation goes looking for it. My willingness to show up and meet them where they are is always the first step. (John 15:1-17)
#8. Common ground connects us. It’s in the everyday things that people like and don’t like that points me to our common ground. I must listen with an open heart before I speak. (James 1:19)
#9. I don’t have to like in order to love. If I am willing to see people with my Father’s eyes and love them like He does– everything is possible. (Mark 12:31)
#10. Change in this world is constant. The world and how I communicate in it is constantly changing, but my God and His truth never change. He lives independent of time and cyber space. I must embrace whatever means is available to me, learn new networks, and faithfully show up ready to share His story as it indwells my life. (Malachi 3:6)
What’s God been showing you as you’ve been living out your faith online?
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May all we think, do, and say be pleasing in Your sight and bring You glory, O Lord. #LiveSticky