The news of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the type of news that, once it finds its way into the deepest parts of your soul, it starts to impact every area of your life. This is the way it should be; those of us whose grave clothes have been traded for Christ’s robes of righteousness should feel the joy of gospel implications in all we do. It changes the way we love, think, eat, drink, watch sports, play with our pets, and everything else. Yet, I fear there’s an area of many of our lives in which the gospel has started to trickle in, but that it hasn’t yet consumed. That area is social media.
There are many problems that arise when thinking through the implications of gospel-less social media usage, two of which present themselves as imminent. The first is the sheer amount of social media usage. I don’t have to use any stats or figures to convince you that we use social media a lot, a whole lot. The second is the public nature of social media. Social media is quite possibly the most public aspect of many of our lives and, therefore, it’s vital that the gospel speaks into our use of it.
WHERE I’D LIKE TO GO
Because of these realities, as a pastor, I wanted to write a piece contemplating the gospel's implications on our use of social media. As I started to plan out what to write, I realized that it was going to be more than one blog post could handle. So, a series will have to suffice. This will be a four-part series thinking through social media and the gospel and will work as follows:
1. Social Media and the Gospel | An Introduction
2. Social Media and the Gospel | Three Gospel-Less Negatives
3. Social Media and the Gospel | Three Gospel-Centered Positives
4. Social Media and the Gospel | Social Media for the Glory of God and Good of Others
BEGINNING WITH REPENTANCE
As I thought through where to begin this series, I realized it’s something I didn’t enjoy – I’m fairly terrible at apply the gospel to my social media usage myself. I’m convinced the best place to start is repentance so my cards are on the table.
The other day I was in between meetings sitting in an office waiting for a brother to arrive, so I pulled out my phone and killed time with Facebook. It wasn’t long before I found myself in my usual posture regarding social media – a posture of eye-rolling, scoffing, cynical critic of others. Honestly, I don’t know why I have social media, for I spend most of the time thinking about how much I hate it while using it. I have a propensity for feeling self-justified for not being a certain type of person on social media. This is not a gospel-centered, Jesus-exulting posture. It is at many times sin, and if not directly sin, a pathway that makes it easy to sin. So, consider this a warning for those who would relate to my confession. Your justification and social validation isn’t in the fact that you don’t post selfies or engage in over-the-top political comment streams. It’s in the blood of a murdered Son.
I’m hoping that this series of posts can be a catalyst for loving conversations between brothers and sisters about how each of us can push the gospel deeper into how we think and use every social media platform. I’m praying that together we can see to it that Jesus engulfs every square inch of our lives – even those that only exist in a virtual society.