I appreciate Brant Hansen. If you do not know who he is, Brant Hansen, along with Producer Sherri (sorry I only know her from Brant’s introductions) host/produce a nationally syndicated radio show. What is so special about Brant is that he is completely open and transparent about having Asperger’s, one of the specifications on the Autism Spectrum. The cool thing is, that while he acknowledges his weaknesses related to Asperger’s, he focuses on the strengths the he and other “misfits” have. He is unashamedly committed to Christ and seeks to help others discover what God is really like. I particularly encouraged by the Brant Hansen show because my son is also on the Autism Spectrum. We enjoy listening to and laughing along with Brant and Sherri.
Yesterday, January 8th, 2018, I was listening to the show. Brant and Sherri did a short segment on social media; specifically, how we treat one another on social media. After the segment my mind started racing down a track related to this idea. (I happen to be ADHD so once the train is rolling it is sometimes hard to put the brakes on!)
It seems to me that for many, social media has become another arena for competition. I need to have the best post, the best food picture, visited the most exotic place or met the most interesting person. In addition, it seems that when people enter into “dialogue” in social media, it becomes all about besting the other participant(s). I was following a discussion stream recently until it became obvious that, while the substantive points had been made repeatedly, neither participant was willing to let the other have the last “word”.
Now, I do believe social media can be a wonderful forum for communication, dialogue and encouragement. When my sister died late last year there was an outpouring of sympathy via social media from all over the world! In addition, social media can offer people who would otherwise never have opportunity to communicate a chance to exchange thoughts, feeling and worldviews.
The key is how your attitude as you enter the social media forum. If, even when you believe you are in the right, your motive is to demonstrate that you have bested an opponent, I would suggest that social media is not the appropriate forum. Yes, there are times when we, the followers of Christ, must speak the truth. Our mandate from scripture is to speak that truth in love.
My thoughts finally landed in Ephesians chapter four. It never ceases to amaze me how scripture written millennia ago can be so relevant today. I believe if the Apostle Paul were writing today to those engaging in social media, Ephesian 4:29 would go something like this: Let no worthless, rotten or corrupting words appear in your posts but only such words that are good for encouragement and building up, according to the need of the moment, that the post might show grace to those who read it.
For me, it seems that social media would be far more positive if we follow this approach in our participation.