But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must DO what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.
– James 1:22, 24-26
As believers, we always represent Christ. We are a reflection of Him in our homes, at work, in our communities and on social media. The things we say and do are being observed not only by God but by unbelievers and believers alike. Every word, action and attitude is being scrutinized. If we’re being honest, when it comes to social media in particular, many of us may have succumbed to some unhealthy habits.
For instance, there are an increasing number of Christians who feel at liberty to judge, even slander fellow believers, targeting church leaders and pastors. It grieves the Spirit of God terribly when anyone attacks the Body of Christ but most especially when a believer is the guilty party. Scripture warns us not to judge another man’s servant (Rom. 14:4; Matt. 7:1-5). The Pharisees treated Jesus the same way. Consider how the world views the Body of Christ when we slander one another. Jesus said the world would know us by how we love one another (John 13:24).
Then there is the trap of self-validation through social media, which has become epidemic, even among believers. The number of likes, followers and compliments has become a primary source of self-worth. Entertaining inappropriate and flirtatious comments from strangers also removes our protective boundaries opening us up to ungodly associations and temptations. We must be diligent to guard our hearts (Prov. 4:23) and find our value in God’s generous, lavish love for us (1 Peter 2:9; Eph. 2:10).
Many believers have also taken to using social media to vent wounds and offenses, seeking to validate personal feelings of bitterness. The truth is, airing grievances only serves to expose unresolved disappointment and anger. The Bible says the root of bitterness defiles (Heb. 12:15). This means that bitterness actually infects others and causes them to stumble. Social media may appear to be a safe place to feel understood, but the mutually offended audience you seek for friendship will never bring healing. Only Jesus can heal and restore the wounds we carry. That healing will only come when we recognize how much we have been forgiven and then work toward extending that same measure of forgiveness to others (Mark 2:17; Mark 11:25).
Some believers want to be accepted by all, lending their support to campaigns and causes, without weighing their involvements against the Word of God. With little or no regard for identifying a Biblical right and wrong, they set themselves up to embrace every belief that comes along. Compromise is a subtle, slippery slope, which corrupts a biblical worldview, weakening our own faith and our witness for Christ. We must remember to submit all things to the truth of God’s Word. Jesus said we are not of this world and we must not conform to the world’s beliefs and standards (John 17:16-17; Luke 6:26; Rom. 12:2).
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2
… become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. – Philippians 2:15
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By Bill Wiese, author of 23 Minutes in Hell