I can remember when I first heard of Facebook. One of my missionary friends talked me into signing up for it as a way to keep in touch. I thought it was weird, but I created a profile on August 7, 2007.
My first post was on my oldest son’s wall: “Hi Garrett….I like facebook better than myspace…it doesn’t have all the scary stuff.”
I’m not sure what was scary about MySpace, but there ya go.
In the 10 years I’ve been active on Facebook, I developed a love-hate relationship with it.
I love the way I can connect with friends, family, and ministry contacts. I love the way I can pray for people right there in the comments. I love getting to say Happy Birthday to a friend I barely knew in second grade.
You have to admit it…birthdays are way better with Facebook!
I hate the way I get sucked into silly, time-wasting quizzes, games, and videos. I hate it when strange men send me “Your smile lights my world” messages. And I hate it when the social media mongols take over the FB feed.
What is a social media mongol, you ask? I’m not talking mongrel, which is a fancy name for a mutt dog. And I’m not talking about a mogul, which is a successful entrepreneur running things like a boss.
Let’s look at who the Mongols were.
“The Mongols had a mission concentrated in one word – destruction. Their take-no-prisoners mentality led them to conquer more of the world than any other empire in history. And it wasn’t just that they could ride horses. It was that they could snipe you through the heart with an arrow while riding their horses” (List25.com).
Social media mongols have a mission, too. To prove their point to the death. It’s not just that they can multi-task on their smartphones. It’s that they can slash folks through the heart with their words while multi-tasking on their smartphones.
Politics, social justice, religion, sports. There’s always something bringing out folks’ inner mongol.
I’m tired of it. Full-blown weary.
There’s a difference between a mongol post and an opinion post.
Opinion posts have a civil tone. Mongol posts are hostile.
Opinion posts promote healthy discussion. Mongol posts promote bickering.
Opinion posts inspire others to think. Mongol posts instigate outrage.
I have a wide variety of Facebook friends. Christians and non-Christians. Black and White. American and Abroad. Scholars and High School Dropouts. I love them all, and they love me.
Some of the most mongol-ish posts come from Christians. This should not be! There’s no excuse for a follower of Jesus Christ to resort to name-calling and out-of-control ranting.
I find the anonymity of social media gives us a level of bravado we wouldn’t have in person. If someone in our presence did something we didn’t like or didn’t agree with, I highly doubt we’d jump up and call them ingrates or idiots. Yet folks do it all the time on Facebook both in their original posts and in their responses to the posts of others.
We need to do better, Jesus people. The world is watching.
We can stand for God without stomping all over people.
We can state our opinions without slashing naysayers with renegade words.
We can surf social media without shipwrecking our reputations.
I don’t always get it right, but the best way I’ve found to keep my social media presence on the up-and-up is to invite Jesus into the equation.
If Jesus was sitting beside you, would you click “post?” Would you allow every hot-button issue to push your buttons? Would you share that angry post a friend of a friend worded “just right?” Would you look at Jesus and say, “They started it?”
I love how my friend Suzie Eller put it on Facebook today.
Right now it’s easy to get drawn into debate. It’s easy to jump from one argument to the next.
What did Jesus do? He kept going. He kept praying. He kept teaching. He kept encouraging. He didn’t place his energies or time into debates to nowhere, but intentionally continued to change the world around Him.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we don’t have time to argue and debate each and every hot topic.
If that hot topic stirs something inside of you, then do what you hope others will do. Let it begin with you.
Love tangibly. Live truth wholly. Pray fervently. Give sacrificially. Open your door to others. Share the Gospel with someone seeking hope. Listen for His voice over the rumble of divisiveness.
Ask for anointing. Hold out your hands and heart for wisdom. Pray for direction. Then live that. Keep going.
I promise that when we stop debating, we’ll find there is purpose right in front of each of us that will change the world, or at least the corner God has shown us.
These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Luke 10:2 NLT).
We are God’s workers, and when we get sidetracked by arguments, we can’t be about His business. Time is short. We don’t have time to bicker, friends! We. Don’t. Have. Time.
Lord, help us.
Help us resist the pull of proving every point. You are the point.
May our social media posts point people to You.
May Your constant presence influence our social media presence.
May we slay our inner mongols and be people of peace and truth spoken in love.
In Jesus’s Name I pray, AMEN