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  • Adam Butler

The Devil's Facebook Foothold

Social media is one of the most relevant communicative tools of our time. But also one of the most dangerous.

We all know the realities of social media and its downsides. Children and teenagers face cyberbullying as well as a culture created by apps such as Instagram and Snapchat, which has given rise to the so-called “selfie-generation,” both of which contribute to low self-esteem.

But what if young people are not the only ones in the middle of the negative sides of social media? Grown adults find themselves in the middle of some dangerous waters when dabbling on Facebook and Twitter as well. People of all ages contribute to and benefit from social media. But like all good things, it can be perverted.

Social media has become one of the most popular areas from which to share our political, cultural, societal, and theological viewpoints. The draw, of course, being that one post can get a lot of attention and likes, and I don’t have to verbally say what I want to say; rather, I can say it from the comfort of my home while drinking coffee in my pajamas.

Even the president of the United States has gotten into trouble many times by utilizing the convenience of Twitter. It appears that it's possible to put one’s foot in his or her mouth even by Tweeting from a phone.

But the problem is just how heated things can become when we spend too much time getting into it on social media. Even Christians allow themselves to divide over these issues and take it out on Facebook, for example.

Just this morning, I came across a post from someone who claims to be a Christian, and is a very Godly example, who said that anyone who does not think like he does in a particular issue is a “garbage person.” I think as Christians especially, but really everyone, we should be above this.

That doesn’t sound like the kind of language we should be spreading as examples of Christ’s love. Dividing over political, cultural, and theological issues does nothing to build the Kingdom of God; yes, we should discuss our areas of disagreement. That is important. But what we are doing is giving an opportunity to the devil to sow seeds of hate for each other.

Paul says in Ephesians 4, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”

So yes, we should be angry about issues that matter, and we should never compromise when it comes to the truth. But let us have a conversation about where we disagree, and stop hiding behind our Facebook posts just shooting arrows at each other. This is the foothold Satan wants; as soon as he can take down the body of Christ by turning us against each other, he has won.

Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is a great tool for sharing opinions. If you feel the need to speak out on a topic, please do so! You have that liberty in this nation. I find it interesting how many people use their freedom of speech, given to them by living in this nation, to turn around and curse this nation and threaten to leave.

But I digress.

The trap we should not fall into is using Facebook as a means of starting controversy and argument. Now, this is not the intention of all people. Some just want to share their opinion. But let us do it with compassion, clarity, and humility above all else. And do not call people names who hold views different from yours. Even if their views are not Biblical, that does not give us the right to attack them; we should reach out and respond with grace and truth. As the Apostle Peter says, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

I cannot tell you how many times I see someone share a random Tublr or Twitter post that another has written, always with the caption, “I’m just gonna leave this here,” as if they are prepared to change half of their followers’ political opinions because of one post.

I don’t mean to be Johnny raincloud, but the way to change someone’s views is not to hide behind Facebook posts. Sometimes, in order to change the mind, we have to reach the heart. Sometimes, it is vice versa. Either way, what ever happened to an empathetic, caring conversation over a cup of coffee?

The point is this: we are in a very tense and anxious time in our nation right now. People are heated, bitter, and scared. Let us not use this opportunity to divide as the church, but to reach people with the gospel message first and foremost.

Please do not hear what I am not saying, we absolutely should talk about the issues that matter! But we also must be loving in our approach, and willing to listen to those with whom we disagree.

At the end of the day, we still must remember that vengeance belongs to Christ. There is a spiritual battle happening. Do not let the enemy get a leg up in this race. We still have a job to do as ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). So let’s do it, all the while glorifying God, and enduring until the end.

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