Social media vs. friend

BY RHONDA GOULD 

Columnist

You might ask, “Why do you say ‘social media vs. friend’?” In today’s world, where people spend more time on their devices than they do sitting across the table from someone and having a conversation, it has come to this question.

The problem of scrolling for hours, checking and rechecking your “likes” and “comments,” so you can measure who you can consider a friend or a foe can be problematic. I will admit that I too have been guilty of this. Determining my value as a person by how social media values me. What is wrong with this measuring stick? That stick is in the wrong hands.

2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Our measuring stick should be determined by God. He made us righteous, we are made valuable because of Jesus. This is not determined by our works, our own estimation or by the estimation of someone else and certainly not social media. Jesus made us valuable by his willingness to go to the cross.

Not only has social media stripped us from looking to God for our value, but it has also stripped us from valuing others. It is so easy to click on a “thumbs up,” “smiley face,” “laughing,” or “angry face.” Even to comment a quick “Good for you!” or “You are crazy” or something a bit more in the “not so nice” direction. I remember “way back when” before social media was a thing and it was just email. There were rules like, don’t type in all caps because it means you are yelling. Even then, there were those who would push the limits beyond yelling by typing things they wouldn’t otherwise say in person. Now all of that has just made its way to social media. Back when I lived in a neighborhood, my neighbors and I would joke about “taking it out in the yard” what should have stayed within the walls of their house.  Well, we have resorted from “taking it in the yard” to “taking it to social media,” and we don’t think twice about calling someone out. Remember when we first got facebook? My Space, if you are older! And remember when we were building our friend list.  For some reason, those who were your friends yesterday have now turned into your foes today. And we don’t mind telling them for all the world to see.  Why is that? If they were standing in front of us, would we say the things we type? What does God’s word say?

Proverbs 15:1: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Titus 3:10, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.”

Is it our goal to stir up division or anger? Particularly with a “friend”? Is our goal to “lose friends and contradict people” instead of “win friends and influence people”?

God is really clear, and Jesus was a great example on how to “win friends and influence people.”

Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Social media has also made it easy to avoid hard conversations. You know, those that post overtly sinful things and we simply avoid it all together or put a quick “ thumbs up“ or “love ya man!” for a sign of support, totally avoiding the hard conversations. Hoping that the sin will just go away and no one will have to face it. Regretfully, sin doesn’t work that way. As a friend, we are to have those hard conversations, face to face. Not over social media, text or email. Verbally, so the receiver can see the emotion behind the words. 2 Timothy 2:24-26, “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently, enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

No doubt that we will never agree with everyone, whether in person or on social media, but I’d ask you to seek out where God is leading you. Will it be with a “thumbs up“ or to a “face to face”?

Rhonda Gould, is an ICF coach working on her ACC and an author with Christian Coaching Magazine. She specializes in helping women reveal patterns that are holding them back.  She believes that every client has the ability within themselves to break the patterns and promote forward movement into career opportunities, new relationships, fun adventures and so much more. Rhonda consults with clients centered around having healthy boundaries and dealing with difficult people and hard conversations. You can learn more about Rhonda’s work at https://rhondagouldonline.com/.