Of the many effects of COVID-19 on our society, I’m fairly confident increased social media usage is one of them. Love it or hate it, most of us are admittedly drawn to platforms like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram as a source of news about the world, our communities and our friends and family. While these cultural staples can be quite helpful and enjoyable, used for gospel proclamation even, they can also be dangerous. “Like a screwdriver,” pastor and author Paul Tripp says, “you could build beautiful things…you could also stab someone in the face…” He goes on to offer some evaluative questions to help us use and not abuse the resource of social media.
Who am I allowing to become an authority?
Who are the authoritative voices in your life and how do you know those voices are trustworthy?
Be careful who are you listening to, who have become moral authorities in your life — authorities for parenting, marriage, building relationships, thinking about moral and cultural issues. All of the sudden anybody can rise to a position of authority, collect an audience and begin to have followers. Be careful.
What am I allowing myself to drift toward?
There’s a huge temptation to start in one place and end up in a place that you would be embarrassed if others knew you were spending your time there.
What are you exposing your eyes and your heart to? Social media can be a powerful tool of sin and temptation — and we need to be honest about that. The church is being weakened by that by the fact that we are now comfortable with exposing ourselves to things on social media that we should never expose ourselves to.
Am I communicating in a Christ-like way?
The Bible says to never speak in an unwholesome way. It says speak only what is needful for the moment and that which gives grace to the hearer. In other words, always speak in an other centered way. I want everything I say to result in benefit — God’s definition of benefit — to the person who is listening.
Even in the Christian community we see the kind of communication that I don’t think we would do face-to-face. There’s something about the fact that you’re not standing in front of me that makes me able and willing to say things I would never say if you were in the room. It’s wrong and it’s harming us.
How much have you allowed yourself to become a part of the outrage culture, just looking for a reason to be angry?
Is it taking time away from what is most important?
There are three areas that God has designed to be the major investments of your time: first is your relationship with him, second is your love of the people in your life — your investment in those relationships, third is your life of labor — your vocation God has called you to work in.
When something begins to eat up time, it’s got to eat into something else in my life. So if something like social media with all of its attractiveness and all of the clickbait begins to eat up time, it’s got to eat into priority things that God has called you to invest in. I think that’s happening.
Check out the full video below