But the more I hear about and share through social media, the more I wonder: Is social sharing (always) compatible with the Christian walk?
Jesus’ sermon on the Mount makes clear that much of the Christian walk takes place in the heart, not on Facebook or Twitter. Here are three situations where I see that social media can perhaps contradict Biblical teaching:
- Private giving to charity. Jesus told us to give in secret to people in need. “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matt. 6:1-4, NASB). However, social media such as Facebook Causes and tweet-a-thons often urge us to promote our philanthropy. I can’t tell the number of times I’ve seen an “I just donated to X charity; you should too!” tweet pop up in my feed. I can see why organizations would want us to publicize our giving to them. But I don’t feel comfortable telling hundreds of people, potentially hundreds whom I haven’t even met, about my giving habits.
- Persecution in foreign countries. Many Christians around the world are persecuted for their faith. To broadcast their religion through social media could invite criminal charges and perhaps even death. To write “Jesus” or “God” in an email or letter is too dangerous for some of our brothers and sisters. How much more, then, should we who are free to be Christians in the U.S. be smart in our use of social media and not implicate those (if we know any) covert Christians in other countries.
- Focus on the interior life. Jesus told us to pray in secret, not to stand on street corners and pray loudly so people can hear us (Matt. 6:5-6, NASB). I can’t help thinking the same principle applies to social media. If you’re on social media a lot (and systems such as Klout and Hootsuite make it almost too easy to be on social media at any time, anywhere), it can be very hard to carve out time to pray and focus … even more so, to document such time on social media. Yes, I know there’s #tworship and Facebook prayer groups, etc., but I think those are never meant to be substitutes for offline (gasp!), one-on-one time with the Most High.
In closing, you may wonder: What exactly does social media have to do with multicultural marriage?
Good question. I could stretch and say that social media is one of the ways in which I share about my multicultural marriage, and that would be true. But at the same time, I think social media is getting to the point where linking it to just about any topic would be a connection.
It’s now a primary way we communicate. It’s like saying, “What exactly does speaking have to do with multicultural marriage?”