Somewhere along the way a belief has emerged that social media is an effective means of persuasion, especially with hot button issues. At the very least if the platform doesn’t change a mind the user has “taken a stand” in the public square.
More often than not we need to keep the point to ourself to truly make a difference. I recognize that it is so much easier to make a point, shoot–it can even be more fun to use one liners and to share memes. But telling someone they’re wrong is not the same as leading them or inspiring them to do what’s right. (To quote Andy Stanley)
Never be content to point out the wrong. It’s not our job to police the behavior of people who don’t believe what we believe on social media. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)
You can make a lot of money telling people they’re wrong. You can start a radio show or a tv news show criticizing everything and everyone. It’s easy to make a point you never plan to do anything about. You can even start a blog condemning everyone who disagrees with you.
Here is a key point…don’t miss it…you only attract those who agree with you and you repel those who disagree with you. Why make a point with people who agree with you and lose credibility with those who don’t? Why repel the very people you think need to hear your message? I don’t want to repel people I want to attract them because you can’t win your enemies to Christ–only your friends.
You may feel better after you made a post or comment…I told them…I got them. But if you really care about them you will do what it takes to remain an influencing voice with them. It is more important for you to win the WAR and not just the BATTLE.
“When we make a point (on FB) we fool ourselves in thinking we’ve done something when all we really did was say something and there is a big difference.” -Andy Stanley
Maybe you’re sitting here thinking…yeah but if I don’t stand for something I’ll fall for anything.
I’m not asking you not to stand for something…quite the contrary…I’m asking you to be wise when and where you take a stand. Most of the things worth standing for probably would be better suited for a face to face conversation than a Facebook post.
Would it surprise you to know that Jesus didn’t always take a stand when he was pressed? See for yourself in Matthew 21:23-27. Jesus knew the answer to their question. He also knew they weren’t really trying to understand; their question wasn’t a sincere dialogue for the truth. The exchange was about getting ammunition. They already had their mind made up. They were trying to set a trap for Jesus that would intentionally harm his reputation with people who hadn’t made their mind up about Him.
I believe traps are intentionally set to harm your reputation with outsiders too (1 Timothy 3:7). I often get on FB and see posts or comments that I’m so tempted to weigh in on. It takes a great deal of restraint to move on. What helps me to move on is reminding myself…”This is a trap, walk away. Do I want to make a point or am I trying to make a difference? Will this draw people to Jesus or repel them?”
So a good rule for your social media engagement is to try to make friends, not enemies.
Rule #2: Thou Shalt Make Friends and Not Enemies on Facebook
Your friends are a lot more willing to listen to your thoughts and opinions over a cup of coffee even if they disagree with you. You’ll also have/keep more friends if you don’t appear like an emotional, angry, basket case on FB. Besides, you know you were looking for another reason to visit Starbucks with a friend. 🙂