I am going to talk to you today about a subject that keeps coming up. People bring it to my attention and I see it for myself.
Since becoming more active on the various social media networks, I have noticed some things posted by people who not only proclaim the name of Christ, but even more shocking (and sad), proclaim to be Pastors, Bishops, Ministers, and Leaders in The Church.
From the start I want to say that social media can be a wonderful Evangelism tool, and can also be a wonderful way to connect with friends and family that you may have lost touch with over the years. There is a place for these platforms in The Church that is growing every day, and there is a place for them in your life. However, things can get out of control and can bring shame not only on you but (more importantly) on The Church and on the name of Christ.
Looking through my Facebook account over the past week, I have noticed many posts from Christian Brothers & Sisters, posted by those who claim to be Leaders in the Church and from who do not. These posts contain a variety of things from pictures of family & friends, to pictures of cartoon characters (I am guilty of this one as I am a huge Disney fan), to posts filled with profanity and/or pictures showing scantily clad people. It is the latter of these that I am going to talk about, because these are things that you would not expect a Christian to post.
Now please do not get me wrong…… I am not saying that in order to be a Christian and maintain a presence on social media that you need to only be involved with Christian/Church pages or groups. As I alluded to above, I am a member of many Disney fan pages on Facebook as well as literary pages from a variety of book series (from Sherlock Holmes to Harry Potter), pro-gun pages, pages for Social causes that I support, etc. I am also not talking about posts from friends/family that contain the occasional incident of profanity. I am fully aware that most of us who are on Facebook, have friends or family members that may not be active in The Church and may not know The Lord. We need to be there on their pages and their friends list as a witness to them, and so they can see that being a Christian and truly turning your life over to Christ DOES NOT mean that you can’t associate with them……
30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.
32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
What I What I am talking about is being a member of or active in groups/pages that glorify and promote lust, greed, violence and other things that a Christian, especially those of us who claim the Title of Bishop/Pastor/Minister/Leader/whatever, have no business promoting.
Here is an example: A dear Brother in Christ and a fellow Minister who also happens to be a Military Veteran, is sharing pictures from a Facebook page that shows young attractive ladies posing in lingerie while holding guns. They do this as a salute to the troops. Now their intention of supporting the troops may be admirable, and this Brother may even be able to look at this page without lust in his heart or mind, because of the strength of his Faith, but by sharing pictures of this woman, he could cause a new Christian to be tempted and fall into sin.
Jesus has some strong words to say about this issue…….
1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
What Jesus is teaching us here in verses 1-4, is that we as mature Christians (and this is doubly true for those of us who are called to Minister the Gospel) have a responsibility to those who are babes in Christ to set an example for them. The Greek word used at the end of verse 2 and translated as “little ones” is “Mikros”. This word can be applied to a person’s age, but is also applied to a period of time. This latter meaning is the context that Jesus is using it in. So when He is saying that we would be better off at the bottom of the sea with a big rock around our necks then to offend a little one, He is saying that we must be careful not to offend (or cause to fall into sin) a new believer.
If we use our scenario above with the young ladies who show their support for our troops creatively, we see how it could become a problem…..
The mature Christian COULD go onto that page (although I would not even suggest that because they could be tempted), because (and yes I have actually viewed the page in question), the majority of the posts on there are messages to the troops that show support without any photographs. But, if you have a young man who has just become a Christian, and is struggling with the things that young men do, chances are they are not reading the articles, and by seeing the mature Christian on there, they could assume that it is OK to look at those pictures. By doing so their lust is inflamed, so not only does this cause the sin of lust, but also gives this young man an unrealistic idea of what women should look like and what sex is for.
Another scenario: A mature Christian lady enjoys wine tasting and the history of wine. She and some of her friends decide to go to the Napa Valley for a wine tasting tour. They do not drink the wine in excess (when you go wine tasting, you normally do not even swallow it, you swish it around in your mouth and spit it out into a bucket), BUT, a new Christian sees or hears of this and thinks that because these mature Christian’s do this, that it is OK for them to do as well. The problem is, the new Christian lacks strong conscience and self-control. In this case then, it would do them damage, become addictive and lead them into sin. Again, due to the inherent danger of excess, it is best to abstain altogether from wine and other alcoholic drinks. Even though the Bible does not expressly forbid drinking wine in moderation, it does expressly forbid drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18), and also being mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12)
In closing, I want to share my own “test” of whether I will post something on a social network or do something in real life…..
The first thing I ask myself is this; Would I stand in front of my congregation and share this post or activity with them? If the answer is no, then I leave it alone….. I encourage you all, especially those who are in the Ministry to ask yourself the same……