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Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
Practice What You Tweet
In a world of Facebook status updates and 140-character one-liners, it's easy for us to drift further and further into an electronic personality and identity void of authenticity.
Our Facebook and Twitter profiles matter more to us than who we really are. The question is, do our Facebook and Twitter identities match what's in our hearts?
More and more people are rejecting the rewards of interacting with people face-to-face and venting every issue and belief via the World Wide Web. Upset spouses argue via their status updates, friends take shots at each other on Twitter at-replies, and in-laws use the term "people" to describe everything they hate about the spouse of their son or daughter. With one click the whole world knows that you're either single, interested or in a "complicated" situation.
Behind a computer, passive people suddenly become aggressive experts on humanity.
And, yes, even preachers rebuke members they're upset with via their status update. Comments like "Im glad the TRUE worshipers showed up today!" when in reality the pastor is mad because the church wasn't as packed as he believed he deserved.
The list goes on and on about how passive-aggression is somehow becoming applauded and almost encouraged in our culture online. The question that I believe must be asked is, what's the danger in all this?
The End of Confrontation
Facebook and Twitter have created an outlet for people who don't want to confront people nor confront themselves. Behind a computer, passive people suddenly become aggressive experts on humanity to offer advice that they rarely apply themselves.
Matthew 18 clearly spells out how we're to address those who have offended or sinned against us, but many—and I would say most—avoid God's process for a point-click-and-type response.
The surprising thing about this is that we judge others by their actions and want to be judge by our intentions.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of social networking, but most people aren't using it for social networking: they're using it for therapy, counseling, intervention, and even sermons.
We must understand that there is consecration in confrontation and to avoid these conversations with actual human beings in favor of "electronic venting" creates a culture of people who are shallow and will never experience authentic relationships.
The end result of this evasion of confrontation and embracing the "e-reality" is that we'll become more obsessed with how many retweets and likes we get versus actually being the people God has called us to be. We show ourselves as great dads on Twitter, but are too busy to listen to our children because our heads are glued to our phones seeing who looked at our pictures and reposted our updates. We'll put up a post on missions without actually engaging people with the gospel. We'll be great spouses on the web, but terrible ones in person.
Let me be clear: I'm not against announcing daddy-daughter dates, concerts, night-outs, church gatherings, etc. via Facebook and Twitter, but I think it's important not to substitute our "e-relationships" with the real one that we're presented with daily with our co-workers, spouses, children, church family, and relatives.
The good news is there's hope for all of us and, yes, I'm including myself. Christ has secured a new, real reality of holiness and missionality on the cross. He's secured what we never could secure for ourselves. In him we no longer need to seek approval and identity in our likes, retweets, and reposts, but we can rest in the regeneration we have in Christ Jesus.
(Now go and and copy this link on your status so I can feel successful. Kidding.)