Facebook Etiquette for the Christian

Church services are being streamed live on your computers and mobile devices, breaking the barrier of location. You can now follow your favourite preachers and other Christian pages and get motivated every day of the week and, not only on Sundays. Fellowshipping with other believers online has also become so easy. There is also that amazing feeling you experience when you realise that, that cool lady or guy is also a Christian and is using his/her platform to evangelise. Facebook has, indeed, brought us together.

Wait, those are the advantages of Facebook to the Christian. So what about the other side of it? How do you react when someone openly describes the Christian as senseless and Christianity as their opium of the masses and nothing more? Being the staunch follower of Christ as you are, with all the testimonies you’ve experienced, what should be your reaction when someone blatantly insults you, your faith or pastor and the church? This post seeks to address some of these challenges:

  •  Learn to Remain Silent

Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues – Proverbs 17: 28

Nobody has ever gotten into trouble by ignoring hateful comments about their Christian faith on Facebook. If the critic has ever experienced the goodness of the Lord, they wouldn’t be posting that (bear that in mind). A way to draw the attention of that poster is not an argument in their comment box. If the person is a personal friend, please send a message through their inbox or talk about it when you meet physically. If you hardly know the poster, just say a word of prayer for them and the Holy Spirit will do His part.

  • Remain Loyal

For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings – Hosea 6:6

Occasionally, it becomes tempting to blame the Christian for some of the unwarranted posts and comments about our faith. This is because some of us put up posts which attract comments from the critics. Would you openly insult your spouse or best friend on Facebook because of a disagreement? So why would you come and discuss an unpleasant experience you had in a church or with your church member or pastor on Facebook? What reactions are you seeking from your followers? Is it sympathy, empathy or insults? Or you want to hear, “Oh, those Christians, they are all pretenders?”

I am not saying you should remain silent about unpleasant experiences but please find the appropriate channels to get your concerns addressed. Not everyone on social media sides with us, don’t put us in a vulnerable position.

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  • Read, Think through before you Share or React to a Post

Wise people think before they act – Proverbs 13:16a

Do you sometimes get the impression people just share posts because every one is sharing them? Or they are liking a post because their friends are liking it? You are a member of a church, have fasted for 40 Days and have taken part in the church’s main event. You are excited because you have broken through. The next day, someone questions the whole activity of your church because of his personal experiences. His post is trending and people are crucifying Christians and, you like and share that post on your wall. Oh sister, why? Do you understand the implications of your actions? Do you support his actions or you want more people to see his posts and criticise the church more? Please read carefully, think through before you take certain actions on Facebook.

  • Church leader, Sensitise members on how to manage issues and crises

“Be prepared, and prepare yourself, you and all your companies that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. – Ezekiel 38:7

How do you expect your members to act, particularly, on social media when your church is having issues or facing some crises? The church, like any organisation, should have written procedures on how their members should react when such issues crop up. Should they openly put up posts to stand by the pastor or join in arguments or remain silent? This should be clearly communicated to members to curtail some of the unwarranted comments from the Facebook Community.

  • Think before you post

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15

We all have opinions about our churches and how we wished things would go, but, before you put such posts up on social media, ask yourself what you seek to gain. Is it support or popularity or you want people to criticise the church that provides you with spiritual nourishment. Whenever you are tempted to post on social media, please note that not everybody is a friend in that community. You are either making the church popular or unpopular with your posts.

Do you agree with the points above? Is there any etiquette you think Christians should adopt on Facebook, which hasn’t been listed above? Do share with us. 

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In this Era of Social Media

In this era of sophisticated technological and social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest, where the world has been reduced in size and space, how can we understand the meaning of true love?

When we do not spend quality time to know each other but with the click of the button on any smart device, find the details of someone’s life – their thoughts, their likes, dislikes…

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When we are made to feel so special because a million and one friends are reminded it’s our birthday, hence, the need to wish us…

When we sometimes do not feel the urge to wish someone a happy birthday but are afraid when it gets to our turn, they’d also not send us wishes…

When we intentionally post certain content for those group of ‘friends’ to see…

When we tip vendors to post our wedding photos and ensure they go viral for our ‘friends’ to see…

When there is no clear difference between our personal lives and what we post online…

When we have specialised in ‘branding’ ourselves so well that when others get onto our social media pages, they feel their lives are too boring and must do something about it…

When we are forced to look and act in a certain way every time because that is what attracted our followers to us…

When we sometimes check out the pages of our friends and former colleagues and they make us wonder which route of life we took…

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When our lives have even been reduced much further through the creation of ‘closed’ groups where we seem to find solace in the arms of people we hardly know…

When we see people in trouble but are concerned about getting their information online than helping them…

When we allow the photos of dead bodies and the manner in which people lost their lives to go viral but, when it comes to a church programme, the last stop for that poster will be our devices…

When we do not care so much about verifying details and the consequences they might have on victims, so far as, we are the first to report that juicy piece of information…

When we do not really care about the emotions of other people but say it anyway, because it will attract a lot of comments and reactions from our friends and followers…

When we ask people to say ‘Amen’ and share posts by putting fear in them…

“Share this to all your contacts or lose that special person in your life.”  

“If you want 1 million dollars, type Amen and share with 5,000 people.” 

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When some of us are shy to declare our faith publicly because of what our friends and followers would say or do?

“Are you a Christian? No, I believe in God but not in organised religion… 

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In this era of social media, it’s really hard to tell who is that genuine friend or brother or sister. The next time we decide to post on social media, remember this:

…“You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight. – Luke 16:15