Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:5–6, ESV.
In these interesting days, many of us have amped up our presence on social media. Unable to stay connected face-to-face, we are taking advantage of other means for social interaction. In fact, some of us are interacting, albeit in a less intimate form, with more people than we were before this pandemic. As Christians, we need to recognize that many of these interactions are with non-Christians.
Paul did not have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat in mind when he wrote to the church in Colossae, but his words are quite fitting. Paul instructs the saints of the church on how to interact with non-Christians in the world around them. His words speak volumes to our social media life. I want to comment on four takeaways.
Do interact! We are not called to isolation from the world. While we are not to imitate their sinful ways or conform to their worldview, we can only walk in wisdom toward outsiders if we are walking in places where we run into them. Nonetheless, our interaction must be distinctly Christian.
Interact wisely! Paul has a specific form of wisdom in mind. This is the wisdom that sees a situation and responds to it in such a way as to proclaim the excellencies of Christ. This wisdom builds trust and guides conversations toward eternal matters. In the context of social media, this is not a five-point gospel presentation or a Jesus meme in every post. It is taking care not to unnecessarily offend. It is offering prayers for peace and hope to those caught up in emotional storms.
Use your opportunities! When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When social media posts display a need for gospel hope and peace, reach out with the good news about Jesus who saves. The good news is more than a glowing Jesus portrait or a catchy Christian slogan. You may need to reach out with a private message or an old-school phone call. When social media opens a gospel door, step through it!
Guard your words! This goes back to the first point. We all know that the wrong words at the wrong time can close the door to our gospel witness. There is a great danger with social media that we will share our every thought and opinion or a seemingly humorous post and offend someone. While we have that freedom, it is a great shame to use our freedom to close the door to our gospel witness. The old phrase says, “guard your tongue.” Perhaps its new corollary should be, “guard your thumbs.”
What a challenging day we live in! But with its challenges come opportunities—opportunities to present the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God sent from heaven to save sinners like us.
I pray that we will all have and take advantage of such opportunities today!
P.S. If you are interested in a more nuanced discussion of the gospel and social media, have a look at the four-part series by Ronnie Kurtz here: https://ftc.co/resource-library/blog-entries/the-gospel-and-social-media-part-4. The link is to part 4, but links to all four parts are at the bottom of the page.