Speaking the Truth in Love

I’m a Rookie on Facebook

  By Brent Smith [Brent Smith is the preaching minister of the Trenton Church of Christ in Trenton, Tennessee.]

Image result for Mark ZuckerbergOn February 4, 2004, Mark Zuckerberg and a few other Harvard students launched the Facebook website. It was extremely popular with the younger generation, but it didn’t take long before senior citizens were on board the social media express. Through the years Facebook lost its “cool factor” with millennials, and they left for other social media sites like Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. According to a Huffington Post blog dated January 7, 2015, “Why the New Generation Is Turning Away From Facebook,” teens were looking for a place where they didn’t “run the risk of mom liking everything they post.”

Image result for benifits of facebookFor several reasons (time, lack of interest, privacy and personal choice, to name a few), I waited until August of 2017 to get on social media for the first time. I wanted to help advertise a great event at the Trenton church of Christ, “Life, Love and Loss,” September 10-13. The benefits of Facebook are obvious: a connection to far away family members and friends, sweet pictures, devotional thoughts, religious discussions. I don’t even mind having to see what a fellow preacher is drinking for breakfast every morning.

Image result for negatives of facebookBut it’s painful to be exposed to the political bickering, attacks against Christianity and lewd behavior. It is this pain that I want to address. I am obviously not the only one who feels it. My brothers and sisters in Christ all feel pain when weakly-reasoned, slanderous accusations are shot at the Faith; such as “The Bible condones rape” or “You idiots blindly follow an outdated book written by men.” How we respond is so important.

Frequently, we are not responding well. Pain tempts us to lash out. “You are the idiot!” Dirty laundry is aired in front of an already anti-Christian audience – “You false teacher! You teach false doctrine!” A mean and hateful tone shows no distinction between the attitude and disposition of the “Christian” and the “infidel.” The love of Christ draws men to God. We are to reflect the love of Christ. Give an answer? Yes! Defend faith in God? Absolutely, but with gentleness and respect so that those who are attacking will feel ashamed (1 Pet. 3.15-16).

In a short time I’ve learned that friends of friends of friends of friends and tags and likes gives a person a large audience. In fact, our “preaching” on Facebook has a larger audience than most preachers have in the pulpit. If we wouldn’t want him to say it, or say it like that, maybe we shouldn’t post it.

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