You love technology and all it offers. But you also hate it.
In a nutshell, social media makes everything so much about us.
We’re sucked into measuring our lives by how many followers we have and who they are. We want to believe we’re not the sum of the “Likes” our last post received, but it still feels like those little clicks matter. The odd thing is the more we focus on ourselves, the less satisfied we feel. And the more we’re consumed with the things of this earth, the more we feel empty.
We were created for more – much more. We were created not for earth but for eternity. We were created not to be “Liked” but to give glory to God. We were created not to collect followers but to follow Christ. It’s time to be honest about our struggles and regain control of the amazing tools that technology provides us. It’s time to put technology back in its place. It’s time to love God with our whole hearts.
As pastors, it’s easy to get swept up in other’s accolades for us – and in their criticisms. When that kind of adoration or commentary can be posted on social media for all to see, it can be difficult to not engage. Here are what I call my 10 Commandments of Using Social Media. Think of these as suggestions for how you can use social media in ways that will show others your love for God while not allowing social media to define you or to take an unhealthy place in your life.
1. Put God first in all you say and post.
2. Love others as you want to be loved.
3. Use social media to facilitate, not replace, real relationships.
4. Use social media instead of being controlled by it as an idol.
5. Turn your virtual other cheek to posts that offend you.
6. Do not post out of emotion.
7. Always reflect Jesus, loving God whether online or off.
8. Do not use social media to fuel temptations.
9. Form your own opinions; do not follow the crowd.
10. Do not base your identity on what people think.
Let’s focus on #5, as it pertains to pastors. Turn your virtual cheek to posts that offend you. Hard to do isn’t it? Follow enough people and it won’t take long: someone will say or show something inappropriate or offensive. If you are like most people, you find it easy to get up in arms and take offense. As Christians, we can rise above the temptation to get down in the dirt. Solomon says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11).
In our culture, many people are quick to judge, quick to call a foul, and quick to be offended. But even though they may be quick to get upset, they’re slow to show grace by overlooking offenses. God’s Word teaches us to be different from the world. It’s to our glory to overlook an offense.
To be clear, overlooking an offense isn’t the same as pretending it didn’t happen or encouraging injustice. No, to overlook something is a decision to let go. It’s a form of forgiveness. The Hebrew word translated overlook means to “passover.” You can look at what can hurt you and spiritually soar right on by it.
If people say something harsh or sharp, instead of puffing up and striking back, allow God’s spirit to help you give them the benefit of the doubt. Chances are their bad mood isn’t about you, and their critical spirit probably isn’t against you as much as it’s a reflection of something they are dealing with. That someone is constantly angry or harsh is often a sign that they are hurting. Why? Because hurting people hurt people. Rather than take offense, you should take them to prayer and ask God to help them.
If a post starts to grieve your heart, remember that you don’t have to follow the poster. You can to some degree control what you see and read. No matter what, remember that just as Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek when someone strikes us, so we can turn a virtual cheek to posts that offend us.
Life is too short to allow someone else’s bad attitude to pollute our heart and relationships.
— Craig Groeschel, #Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World
How to Use This Book
Could your congregation use a technology break? Could you?
In this timely and life-changing new book, New York Times bestselling author and pastor of LifeChurch.tv Craig Groeschel encourages readers who are hungry to regain control over their lives and put Christ first again. He walks them through biblical values that all Christ followers know are essential, but are even more important for our maxed out, selfie-centered world. With helpful guidelines like the 10 Commandments of Using Social Media to Strengthen Your Faith and Creating Safeguards for Your Digital Devices, you’ll find #Struggles to be just the guide to bring balance and real-life engagement to your everyday life.
Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World