I have a love/hate relationship with social media. On the one hand, it enables me to renew friendships with those I’ve lost contact with. It helps me to stay in touch with folks I don’t see on a regular basis. I can share my writing with those who might not read it otherwise.
But on the other hand, my exception to it is the same as I’ve always had about letters to the editor. It has seemed to me that folks sometimes write in those letters things about others they have not first said to them in person or would not say to them in a room alone with them. The same is true for social media. It gives a microphone to what would never be exchanged in person in civil conversation.
I’m not talking about messages posted that may be misinterpreted from the way we meant them. I’ve had my share of those over the years. Try as we might, sometimes we miss it, and something slips by. Regret always follows. What I’m talking about here are comments posted to be snarky, to pile on, or just to be plain crude or even mean.
These statements confuse those who do not yet know the Lord. For if we as believers post a prayer one day and come back with a cruel meme the next, what does that say to someone just beginning to explore Christianity? We need to be consistent with our witness.
And I can hear this response coming, “I just speak the truth in love.” A well known Bible teacher says that whenever she hears someone say that, she braces herself, because she knows often that something spoken “not in love” is coming. Those words from the Bible can be a seeming cover for saying whatever we want and don’t have anything to do with love at all.
In the quoted verse in the picture from Colossians 3:17, the Apostle Paul wrote that every detail of our lives should be done in the name of Jesus. There’s a reason for that. Our flimsy words don't have much power, but if we write aware and inspired by the power and Name of Jesus, much can happen. That means in all our words—every text, every email, every social media post, every spoken word, every telephone call, we should be able to attach “in the precious name of Jesus.” I don’t know about you, but that makes me squirm. It makes me feel as if I need to take another long, hard look at what I write or speak before I release it into the world. And that applies to our actions, or “whatever.” Paul reminds us we should also offer thanks “every step of the way.” Another challenge.
I’m aware that God’s calling manifests itself differently in each of us. Some have more of a prophetic edge and God uses them to especially be salt and light. Because we know in this old world, we need both salt and light. But even so, what we say absolutely must be cloaked in love and said in His Name.
2020 was a stressful year to beat stressful years. And 2021 has started much the same way. We have all often been moved to the edge of our seats. But somehow, someway, we must put Jesus above all of this. So, I’m issuing a challenge. Let’s take a long hard look at our media feeds. If there’s something we can’t attach “In the precious name of Jesus,” Let’s delete it. Before we write that text or email, let’s give it the “Is this in Jesus name?" test. Let’s fill up the world with hope and encouragement, not in a Pollyanna-stick-your-head-in-the-sand kind of way but in a Jesus’s-love kind of way. In every detail, let’s strive to be able to attach that blessed Name. Again, our snarky words don’t often change anything, but His powerful Name absolutely can.
Here are two songs I love about the Name of Jesus. Click on titles to listen.