Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy. The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear! (Luke 12:1b-3)
No, these words of Jesus are not some “social media prophecy”, but they do espouse a principle: that who we are privately will eventually be apparent publicly.
So while it’s not a prophecy regarding social media, it’s apparent that social media has become one avenue through which who we are, is broadcast – for better or worse.
Occasionally I’ll make comment to someone about a post of theirs I read – not necessarily a inappropriate post. Just a post regarding something they were doing. When I mention it, I’m sometimes met with surprise: “How did you know about that!?”
“Because you posted it on social media... and I’m on your friend list.”
It’s a good exercise at some point to go through our lists of “friends” or “followers” and reflect on the fact that everything we post, or react to, be that a “share”, a “like” or a “tag” potentially at least is “shouted from the housetops for all to hear!”
As youth leaders we do well to think about who sees that reaction to a post or who sees the name of a page we “like” appearing on their feed. Consider the following:
Would you happily announce to the church the name of the pages you “like”?
Would you be willing to read out the post you shared during notices on Sunday morning?
Would you project that picture or video up on a screen for all to see at youth group?
Would you be willing to say to the young people you lead, “Everything I do on social media, is all good for you to do too!”
And would you also be happy to say the same thing in person to their parents?
Chances are, the things you post, like and share are seen by youth leaders, your church leaders, and young people in youth group (who might show it to their parents, or react so that it gets passed on to their parents’ feed anyway.)
Perhaps they are seen... perhaps they’re not, because so much goes via our newsfeeds that things can be missed.
Yet one thing we can be sure of. Jesus sees them.
You see the reason we need to watch what we do on social media is not because we fear someone we want to impress might see it.
It’s because it grieves God.
In conclusion let me quote the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Post only things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (SMV – Social media Version)