The following is a guest post by Jana Wilson.
Congregations everywhere warn about the potential evils of social media. Overusing these platforms in a negative manner can lead to mental health issues as well as dangerous situations. Cyberbullying and other social issues are alive and well, and it can be quite upsetting to spend too much time on your social sites.
However, as is a fundamental Christian belief, there is a light and dark side to almost everything. While social media can be harmful, it can be infinitely more powerful as a force of good, especially if you’re using it for positive interactions.
You see, social media is also one of the most powerful methods for spreading the good word and bringing about change. As Dave Willis, marriage counselor, blogger, and active Christian, says, “Don’t use social media to impress people; use it to impact people.”
You can be a force for great good through social media. Here are just a few ways that any Christian with society’s best interest at heart can successfully connect with people all over the world.
- Post Uplifting Quotes and Imagery on Instagram
As a general rule, your Instagram followers are generally looking for something uplifting and inspirational when they hop onto the app each day. Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform with more than a billion active users. It may even surpass Facebook one day as the largest social network in the world.
Fans of the platform have often expressed that they like Instagram better than Facebook because the imagery and interactions tend to be more positive than that of other platforms.
“I just think it’s a nicer place to be,” Katie Clark, a millennial blogger from Colorado, responded when USA Today asked her which platform she preferred for her personal and business use. “[On Facebook], everything feels like an advertisement or an argument.”
Take advantage of this mindset by posting positive quotes, imagery, memes, and videos each day. Spread the good word about Christ’s gospel and your desires for social improvement in order to try to impact change for the better.
- It’s Okay to Say What You Believe
With all the political turmoil in the world, many people are afraid to share their religious beliefs. Media coverage has many Christians convinced that if youpublicly share your beliefs, you’ll forever damage relationships with those who believe differently.
However, the media often conflates issues to make them appear bigger than they are. The people who are offended by religious comments make up a tiny majority while most people don’t mind that you express what you believe. You can share your testimony of your Lord and Savior because it comes from the heart, and no one can try to tell you differently.
- Don’t Overdo It, Though
That being said, be respectful of others’ beliefs. You’re much more likely to offend someone if you’re constantly pushing your religion on them when they haven’t expressed interest previously. You can post what you believe, but when you become a religious fanatic, that’s when you’ll start to lose people.
- Be a Good Listener
You might think that being a positive source for good on social media is about what you say, but oftentimes, it’s a matter of how you listen. There’s no way that you can change a person’s opinion or call them to action if you don’t first understand their viewpoint and respond respectfully.“In real life, we have to wait our turn to speak, but with comments, we simply have to scroll down,” Neal Samudre, creator of JesusHacks.com and the author of Jesus Workforce wrote in an article for Relevant Magazine. “This is how some articles and discussions online can get so out of control—people refuse to listen and instead turn the subject into something entirely different.”
For example, sometimes people just need to vent. They don’t need you to try to fix it or post a scripture in that moment. Instead, they just need to get something off their chest. There will likely be other times for you to insert your point of view, so respectfully wait until that moment to share.
Additionally, taking a breath before you post something can prevent you from saying somethingyou’ll regret. When you’re kind and respectful on social media, others are more likely to reciprocate.
- Follow More Positive Influences
You may not realize it at first, but your mood can be affected by those around you, even those on social media. Constantly reading coarse and negative stories can make it difficult for you to spot opportunities to make the world a better place online.
“In the process of filtering my feeds based on my personal struggles and weaknesses, I found people and that strengthened and uplifted me,” says Marie Osborne, a Christian blogger. “Some of my favorites? Of course, iBelieve.com, but I found encouragement and inspiration across the social media spectrum.”
She goes on to mention a wide variety of pages and individuals who are constantly posting inspirational and spiritual content before encouraging everyone to find their own uplifting account to follow.
- Collaborate with Other Christians
Building a community of people who believe the same as you is one of the best ways to inspire change in the world around you. A group of Christians profoundly committed to their beliefs and a worthy cause can be unstoppable, despite negative forces that may surround them.
You can create or follow groups on your social pages containing other believers with the same goals. This platform will facilitate you working together on special projects, like missions, service opportunities, church attendance, gospel concerts, fundraising for charity, and so much more.
When you open this collaborative window, this is when ministry happens. Your zeal for your beliefs is contagious, and you can be buoyed up with the prayers and good deeds of others.
- Reach Out to a Sad Soul
People often use social media as an outlet for their frustration, pain, and suffering. Oftentimes, these individuals post passive-aggressive comments or self-deprecating posts in an attempt to receive attention. It’s not necessarily the healthiest way for them to cope, but it is very common.
Your initial reaction is probably to ignore their post, but there’s a chance that a kind word or photo from you could be what helps them overcome their hard time. Christ went about doing good to everyone, not worrying about their backgrounds, but focusing on their current needs. You can do the same through social media, reaching out and helping people feel loved.
~ Jana Wilson is a freelance writer based in Chandler, Arizona. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading and binge watching Netflix.