From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Read Ephesians 4:11-32
Originally, I was looking for verses online around the topic of “reeds blowing.” In my mind, I visualized social media campaigns and the people who are susceptible to follow them like reeds being blown by the wind, or as it states in Ephesians 4:14, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” Social Media campaigns are like that. We click, we share, and we vent, even to the sacrifice of shutting down conversations with others or rupturing friendships.
In seeking the right verse for an image I was creating, I decided to read the whole chapter of Ephesians 4. David Guzik breaks it down to 3 subtopics: “A Call for Unity Among God’s People,” “The way God works unity: through spiritual gifts of leadership in the church,” and “Putting off the old man, putting on the new man.”
How does this look on social media?
- “Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (vs. 1) – Answer the temptation to yell online, insult others, or use trigger words with Trapp’s saying to Satan, “I am a Christian.” The Bible exhorts us to walk as a believer, not act like the unbelievers. This includes postings online. Let’s not shut down conversations unnecessarily. This is to the benefit of the reader or listener who may not know Christ. It may even be to our benefit, too.
- Keep the peace. Bear with one another. We need to forgive each other so we can work together for a greater purpose. People will post status updates we disagree with, join a political party we don’t like, or support causes that frustrate us. Keep the peace. Change happens when one or both parties listen to each other. Change happens inwardly as the Holy Spirit guides us.
- We all have a role to play in face-to-face and online. People like to use the Spiritual Gifting verses as a reason not to do something. With probably half (or more) of a church congregation online, the Christian is already exercising one of his or her gifts in some way online. Most congregants post out of boredom or with a political agenda, but what if we posted more intentionally with someone’s eternity in mind? To keep a conversation from shutting down, a lot of self-control is exercised, even a giving up on being right happens for the sake of a person coming closer to the Father.
- Being silent online is not an acceptance or rejection of a cause. It is not weak. A person can’t listen to others if they are busy talking all of the time. Silence allows for speaking the truth in love. May we “grow up” into Jesus.
- The chapter ends on a note of forgiveness. Church is messy. People are messy. We’ve all offended others and been offended.
Two people recently shared with me how they went off Facebook. The stress of the online vitriol was too much. It made me wonder how many non-Christians felt this way and went offline or to other networks. I also wondered how many opportunities are being lost because we can’t see the forest for the trees? During these turbulent times, it distresses me to see the lost opportunities as well-crafted social media campaigns blow us like the wind from one issue to another. In between the gusts of wind are notes of normalcy and people in pain.
Here is a video on how to serve online in times of turbulence. If you do this challenge, would you message me on your progress and how it changed your perspective or helped others?