Friday, March 21, 2014

Reflections: Social Media

To reflect is to give back or exhibit as an image, likeness, or outline, or to think quietly and calmly to express a thought or opinion resulting from reflection.  Well those are two of the many definitions from the Miriam Webster dictionary.  Reflections don't always come from a mirror, glass, or looking into a body of water, at least for me they don't.  I see myself in the actions of others. I see myself in the lyrics of a song, or a scene from a movie.  I am constantly looking at things and trying to learn from them, applying them to my own situation.  When I title a post with "Reflections" it will be me talking about a situation I have come across recently whether I saw it in a movie, heard it in a song, or saw it someone else's life and talking about how it made me reflect on something going on in my own life.  I see everything as a learning experience and this will be me getting those thoughts out so I can remember the lessons I have learned go back and reflect on them. 

Social media has been a part of my life since middle school.  Oh my goodness I was all about some myspace.  I was pretty much obsessed.  Why did I care so much about myspace you ask? Well, I was an 8th grader trying to be as cool as possible and it was a way for me to be in control of something.  I could make my profile look like I had it all figured out.  Coolest music, cool editing on my photos, sweet layout, and what was it all for? It was all an effort to try and show others that I was awesome. I determined my coolness on how many comments I got on something how many fried requests I got.  I was such a dumb middle schooler....oh but wait, how am I different now? When it comes to how I use social media, I am not any different at all.  I am worse actually.  I have Facebook, twitter, instagram, you name it...I got it.  Social media can be an awesome thing.  It is a great way to keep in touch with long distance family and friends and it is an awesome marketing tool for business.  Small businesses can reach so many more people now because of the explosion of social media.  It is kind of awesome.  But Social media can be negative for sure and most of you know this.  

I was drawn to this topic because honestly, I was being very judgmental about some peoples posts. I then had to look at myself and see that I am no different.  I sometimes get involved in silly debates that I would never get involved in face to face, just because I can hide behind the computer.  I am guilty of taking the occasional selfie (gosh that word is annoying) and what is a selfie but a way to get a quick confidence boost.  But yet to get all those likes and comments you make sure it's the proper lighting and you edit any flaws so really people aren't complimenting what you really looked like when you took the picture.  It is so ridiculous. 
But what I really want to address is something directed towards Christ followers.  There are things I think we really need to be careful of.  (I want to go ahead and say that I am not trying to call any one out specifically or make anyone feel bad. I do not know the heart behind what people post and I am not claiming to I am just writing because I am reflecting on my motives and heart behind what I post) It may be really tempting to post a picture that someone took of you leading worship, or post a status that talks about a good deed you did for someone but I think there are a couple things we need to ask ourselves before we post anything....

Is this uplifting or encouraging?

This on is a hard one for me.  First thing I want to do when I have had a bad day or if somebody really annoyed me is vent about it on Facebook or Twitter. But as Christ followers we are to be peace makers.  I mean that comes straight from Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" Matthew 5:9

And in Ephesians, Paul directly speaking to the church says
 "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Yea now I am just thinking about how long it would take me to get rid of all the negative crap I have posted on the internet through the years...kinda scary. 

then the other question...

Am I posting this to bring glory to God or myself?

No I am not referring to posting pictures of your children, or of your puppy (that was for me because I do that about everyday) I understand we all have family that wants to see those pictures.  I am talking about what I referenced before like Pictures of us doing mission work or leading worship or posting a status about a good deed we did.  We could definitely argue that it is for the glory of God, "people will see me leading worship and maybe it will motivate them to come to church?" "when people see this status they will see the love of Jesus that I showed to that person"  

Sounds good in our heads but it is actually kind of dumb.  

The love of Christ should be showing through us constantly, we shouldn't feel the need to post something we did on Facebook.  If we live a life of love, situations like that should be an every day occurrence not a "oh I did something nice today, I gotta post it on fb" 

Jesus addresses this on the sermon on the mount as well.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you" Matthew 6: 1-4

He also addresses the same thing in Matthew 23

Christ speaks to the disciples the a crowd about the Pharisees, "They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long" (v5) 
(phylacteries and fringes are referring to religious garments).

"...the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (v 11-12)

If we truly believe God is all-knowing and all-powerful...than why should we feel the need to share with everyone good things we do.  God sees our good works and rewards us.  If we are truly following Christ than that should be all the reward we need.  This is something I am struggling with really bad.  My whole life has been focused on pleasing people, if I can let go of that people pleasing need I have and just love them and love God I could live a life more free than I could ever imagine.  I have a feeling I am not the only one in this boat.  If this is something you are struggling with as well, let's pray for each other. Hey look, a positive thing about social media :) 

I will leave you with this...

John 16:24 
"Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."

We can never overcome this struggle by our own strength.  We need His help. We just have to ask.

The image I used in this post is not mine. I could not find the original source but I found the photo here.

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