Pew Research Center recently revealed that “13 percent of Internet users have experienced trouble in a relationship between them and a family member or a friend because of something the user posted online.”1 I find that number remarkably low. In reality, that number is more like 99 percent. Who of us hasn’t seen a social posting and cringed because it came from a person we have come to know and even love in real life. Politics, sports, and even religion pervade the social landscape; there’s no escaping it.
Unfortunately, we (myself included) have the tendency to throw our faith in the faces of everyone online, rather than working to engage the conversation. If there’s something we don’t like, we can just “hide” it. Think about it though, how many “friends” have taken steps to hide what we are saying? Our cleverly placed Scripture references and images may not even be hitting the newsfeeds for which they were intended!
How do we ensure that we are engaging in a way that glorifies God rather than using faith as a weapon? Fortunately for us, there are steps we can take (with the power of the Holy Spirit) to share our faith and remain in positive standing with friends, family, and coworkers.
Consider these seven steps promoted by the folks with Billy Graham’s “My Hope America.”2
- Remember, you are being watched
- Focus on truly conversing, not just getting your point across
- Talk less and listen more
- Show compassion, not contempt
- If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online
- Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading
- Make it personal, but don’t take it personally
Think on these steps. What do they mean to you in your life?
How About You?
Do you have an exercise that helps keep you in a loving state of mind online? We’d love to hear about it. Please share your method below in the comments.