By Aaron Earls
Your social media accounts should reflect Christ, but they should also reflect you.
Those are the two distinct dangers for Christians on social media—an unChristlike representation and an un-you representation.
The most obvious and harmful danger is that your feed doesn’t reflect Christ. Through angry and abusive language, you harm the reputation of Jesus by attacking others while your bio line proclaims you are a Christian.
We’ve all seen this on social media. The pastor who berates journalists and TV commentators because they disagree with his political views. The small group leader shaming a high school athlete because the player announces he’s going to play for a rival college. The Christian moms harassing each other in Facebook comments.
These Christians fail to acknowledge the image of God in those they interact with online. They forget their online opponent is not pixels and avatars, but flesh and blood.
After seeing the way they behave, who would want to follow their Christ?
While the other danger—not reflecting your true self—is less serious, it can also hinder the spread of the gospel. Many Christians may reflect Christ in a sense, but fail to honestly reflect themselves online.
When the Holy Spirit inspired the authors of Scripture, He used their personalities, backgrounds, writing style, and more to make their contributions to the Bible both inerrant, but also unique to each individual.
Obviously, your tweets or Facebook posts are not equal to the Bible, but there is an applicable principle for our writing. God wants to use you to communicate His message to the world and that you includes your personal abilities and interests, as well as your personality.
I tweet about my faith in numerous ways, but if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll also see me tweeting about my kids, the latest comic book movie or Doctor Who episode, some news, Duke basketball, a reference to C.S. Lewis, and a sports gif or two.
Those things fill my feed because it’s a reflection of who I am. And those aspects of my personality allow me to make connections with others over shared interests. Those connections can develop into friendships, which opens the door for real conversations about things of eternal consequence.
I have a Twitter friend who disagrees with me about politics and religion, but we share a love for Duke basketball. Not too long ago, she was confronting some issues of faith and we were able to have a real, honest conversation about those issues.
I’ve never met her in person and probably never will, but I’ve shared the gospel with her and tried to speak truth into her life in tough times. And all of that came because we were both tweeting during a Duke basketball game.
That probably would’ve never occurred, however, had I only tweeted Bible verses, quotes from my favorite Christian book, and lines from the last sermon I heard.
Don’t get me wrong. Tweet those things. Share them on Facebook and Instagram. Let God’s Word permeate your social media accounts, but allow God to use you to speak His Word into the lives of those you can meet online through mutual interests.
If you only share Bible verses or inspirational sayings, you could be giving someone a false impression of what it means to be a Christian. The highly selective image you present on social media can cause others to think that to follow Christ means you have to drop your personality at the door.
Not only that, they may assume that being a Christian is only for those who have it all together. They see the shiny, Instagram ready life with a carefully placed open Bible beside the perfect cup of coffee.
Their heart drops and Satan whispers in their ear. That’s not your life. You don’t have it all together like that. You might as well not try.
Share Scripture on social media, but also share your personality and share your struggles.
When we do so, we don’t diminish the glory of Christ, we magnify it as we let others see that Jesus saves every type of person and is greater than anything we could be going through.
As we follow Christ, our true personality will show up and provide a witness to those who see us face-to-face and read our social media updates.
And, since it’s part of my personality, I’ll close with a C.S. Lewis quote from Mere Christianity.
“There are no real personalities apart from God. Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most ‘natural’ men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been; how gloriously different are the saints.”
Be the “gloriously different” you for the glory of God.
AARON EARLS (@wardrobedoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.