An Open Letter to the Church on Social Media


by Heather Bock

In the last couple of weeks, although I have witnessed the Church on social media demonstrating love, I have seen others abandoning love towards other members of the Church. I have seen the Church publicly disrespect and attack each other over disagreements on topics not essential to the faith. The lack of love is deeply disturbing to me. What message is it sending to the world, and when is it going to stop?

If you are part of the Church, I’m sure you already know the greatest commandment: “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mk. 12:30). The second greatest? “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk. 12:31). In Jesus’ definition, that neighbor includes that annoying guy you don’t agree with on Facebook who lives two states away.

One of the last directives Jesus gave to His disciples before He went to die on the cross was this: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:34-35).

How are men going to know we are followers of Jesus if we don’t show love for each other? How are they going to even see the love of Jesus Himself when we distract them by acting like this in public? Many people believe we will know a leader by his followers.

I am not saying we can never disagree with each other and especially not in public. I am not saying that at all. We can have healthy discussions with each other, even in public, but we’ve got to do it in a loving way.

What is a loving way? If what we’re saying and the way we’re saying it doesn’t rise to the standard of I Corinthians 13:4-8, then we shouldn’t be saying it.

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

It is possible to critique an idea without critiquing a person. We can even critique an idea without caricaturing it, spending the time necessary to understand it before responding. With the Holy Spirit’s help (and maybe an honest friend who’s willing to edit your tweets, posts, etc.–my husband is my honest friend, and I’m his), disagreements can be handled with patience, kindness, humility, and unselfishness.

Do I get this right all the time? Not at all. It is true that I’m much better at controlling my words on social media because I find it easier to control my written words over my spoken words. However, I certainly do not fulfill I Corinthians 13 the way I ought. Just ask my own family how I’ve snapped at them at times. We all need God’s help with this and the fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).

Thankfully, a lack of love is not all I’ve seen on social media recently. Many times I have seen friends asking for prayer and large numbers of you stepping up to pray and encourage, and these past couple of weeks have surpassed even that.

This weekend I will be attending an event put on by Living Proof Ministries for women in their 20s and 30s “with fire in their bones to teach, speak or write.” The event filled up in less than an hour. I wrote about how God taught me through this very registration here.

After seeing the excitement over the event and thinking about the connections I made at the longer Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, which I wrote about here, I really wanted to connect these women together in a Facebook group. I wrestled with it, about whether I was really the person who should be starting a group like that, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I started it.

I have been completely blown away by the love these women, complete strangers (and yet sisters in Christ), have shown for each other and for Jesus. They have prayed for each other by name (some even wrote down every name–all 90-100 of them), encouraged each other, read each other’s blog and Facebook posts, and watched and applauded each other’s videos. I read one woman who lived near another offer to go over to the second woman’s house and help so she could make it to the conference on time. As moderator, I can barely keep up with the volume of love pouring forth from these women of God. I’m sure we all come from different church backgrounds and hold different political views. However, this fact doesn’t hold the love back.

This group is an example of the Church doing social media well–showing love to other members of the Church. It has been done, and it can continue to be done. Maybe the more we do this, the more it will spread!

Friends, we want the love of Jesus to go forth and shine bright in the darkness. We need to show love like this to our own first and then to the rest of the world. We all need to be known for our love.

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20 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Church on Social Media

  1. It is embarrassing how anonymity and distance bring out the cowardice in so many of us. We say things, or express attitudes, that we wouldn’t dare in person. I wonder whether we realize that the 140 word limit on Twitter still falls under the warning of Matthew 12.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, people say things online they wouldn’t say face to face, which is too bad. I’m glad you brought up Matthew 12:25: “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.” This is a very fitting verse for this subject.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I want to add an exclamation to “when is it young to stop?!” [But that that wouldn’t be patient or kind.] Sometimes we forget loving God happens through loving our neighbors. Thanks for reminding us what God’s definition of love looks like.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heather, You’re speaking my heart! I’ve been silently grieved each time I’m on social media, or any type of media, really. So, I’ve started writing down my thoughts in my journal and praying over them with the Lord. Thanks for giving voice to some of what I’ve been feeling.
    Blessings on you, sweet sister!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Powerful words and directly to the point, Heather! Well said. Unfortunately, it is a case where our culture is affecting how we behave, rather than Christians shaping and redefining our culture by our love. Aren’t we are all about manifesting God’s character in the world? Discord, disrespect, condescension, meanness and hatefulness manifest the character of our Enemy in the world. People are not our Enemy. The Evil One is our enemy, and he is the one who is behind all this disunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Heather, Thank you for posting my thoughts. My heart has grieved over believers hatred. We must press into Christ and reflect His love and light. Thank you for your boldness.

    Liked by 1 person

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