I’ve written thousands of words today more than once, only to delete them all. Sometimes that’s how The Holy Spirit works in me as He is forming and reforming my heart. I can’t even tell you what I wanted to write about at this point. As much as I tried to wordsmith my way around it, my thoughts continually boiled down to calling attention to the speck in someone else’s eye (Matthew 7:3). So I now look at the log in my own eye through a personal assessment exercise.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.John 13:34-35, ESV
What am I known by?
Do people know that I am a disciple of Christ by the love that I have for others? What does that even look like? I have a prominent position in the church where I serve and a degree of public exposure as a result. My history at other churches and social media presence expands my public exposure beyond my local exposure. I’m sure that I am known by a wide range of things if I were to poll every relationship and social connection I have. Would any of them say that I am known as a disciple of Christ by my love? Short of actually asking them, the most I can do is review the way that I interact with others. For the sake of this exercise, I am focussing solely on my social media interaction. This is only a small part of my life, but it is the arena of life where I was trying to take aim at another before sensing the conviction of God in my heart.
I took some time to look through my Facebook posts over the past month and here is what I found:
- Profile Posts
- July 1 – Tagged in a ministry post from Pakistan
- July 3 – Shared a post from a friend about people who practice the ways pharisees today.
- July 3 – Tagged in a family photo
- July 4 – Movie quote
- July 4 – Tagged in a ministry post from Pakistan
- July 6 – Tagged in a photo from high school (youth group mission trip to Mexico)
- July 8 – Shared a post from a friend about loving people no matter what
- July 9 – Tagged in a post thanking me for something small
- July 10 – Tagged in a post wishing Elise and me a happy anniversary
- July 10 – Tagged in post from my wife about our 16 years of marriage
- July 11 – Shared a memory about a big storm
- July 12 – Shared a contest to try to win things I don’t need
- July 13 – Shared a post from a friend about reading instead of scrolling through social media
- July 13 – Tagged in a ministry post from Pakistan
- July 18 – Shared a memory about vacation last year and serving at The Bride Church now
- July 18 – Video inviting people to church with Covid update (originally posted to church page)
- July 19 – Jesus prayer
- July 19 – Updated profile picture
- July 20 – Kyrie eleison
- July 21 – Complained about electric bill in summer heat
- July 22 – Shared ministry video from a friend and tagged other friends doing incredible ministry
- July 22 – Asked for financial help to rescue a pastor in Pakistan
- July 29 – Reminder to myself to not post gut reactions to other Facebook posts
- Blog Page Posts
- July 3 – Photo of local coffee shop bumper sticker that I inspired
- July 10 – Selfie with wife for our anniversary
- July 22 – Photo with Scripture reference (Psalm 44:26)
- July 22 – Shared profile post (Asked for financial help to rescue a pastor in Pakistan)
- 8 times tagged by others
- 4 posts shared from friends (once with commentary)
- 1 movie quote
- 2 memories shared (once with reflection on what God has done over the past year)
- 1 contest shared
- 1 invitation to church with focus on expectations due to Covid
- 2 simple prayers
- 1 updated profile
- 2 pleas for help for a foreign pastor
- 1 note to self
- 1 shoutout photo
- 1 selfie
- 1 photo with Scripture
Does my presence reflect God’s presence?
A few things stood out to me through this exercise. First, I don’t really say a whole lot online. Since I don’t say a lot, what I do say might say more about me than I want it to because it means that I thought it was important enough to share. Of the 14 (one was a repost) times that I shared not written by a friend, only 6 of them had anything to do with God. Only 2 of those expressed love for people other than my wife, and 1 of them was simply pointing out how other people are expressing love to their neighbors. The other 1 was a cry for help for a pastor in another country.
My social media presence shows my consumer nature just as much as my love for others, and that’s just the posts on my profile and blog page. If I were to look at my responses to other posts, I fear that I might look like someone looking to argue with people much more than someone who is known by their love. I may post prayers and Scripture on occasion and sometimes invite people to church, but how am I showing love through my online interactions and presence? Am I reflecting God’s presence in my life?
I think that social media interaction very rarely represents actual action. Enduring love is represented by action whereas words on a screen are forgotten with the flick of a finger. I need to call someone who simply needs someone to be there for them. I’ve got to go and do something for my neighbor. I can’t sit at home or in my office and expect anyone to recognize that I am a disciple of Christ by simply reading what I post online (including this blog) or what I say at church on Sunday. Love is action, or as Bob Goff puts it, “Love Does.”
Full disclosure: I haven’t read Love Does yet, but it is on my reading list. If you happen to click on the “Love Does” link above and purchase it, I may receive a small financial kickback from Amazon with no additional expense to you.