Are holiness and social media compatible? If holiness can be described as Christ-likeness, then how would Jesus have used (or not used) social media? Jesus gathered millions of followers long before Twitter started limiting people to 140 characters. I just can’t imagine Jesus posting pictures of empty and then full wine jars at the wedding in Cana on his Instagram account. Would Jesus have made a Facebook status like this one? Fed a lot of people today. Pete and the boys estimated the crowd at 5,000 men. #kidgaveuphislunch #belliesfullofbreadandfish Does anyone really think Jesus would have been obsessed with the number of “likes” he received from any social media outlet?
Would Jesus have used social media to cast cyber stones at people? I know of a guy who loves using social media and blogs to point out the sins of pastors and others that he has determined behaved in a less than holy manner. Of course, based on his slanderous, gossipy and “fake news” (read: lies) postings it’s a wonder he can even see his keyboard to type with the giant plank in his eye (see Jesus’ story in Matthew 7:3-5). Unfortunately, that guy is not sitting alone in his pew. I’ve seen hurtful, racist, insensitive, offensive, vulgar posts… all put there by church folks and people who have claimed to be following Christ. There are days I wonder if to be truly sanctified doesn’t means “set apart for God purposes” but “set apart from social media.”
Hebrews 12:14 applies to social media too. It reads: Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. I know a few Christians who apparently have never read that verse as evident by the way they exercise their social media self and post comments as if the author of Hebrews wrote: “Make every effort to make your point and be right; without correct politics no one will see the Lord.”
John Wesley wrote this tweet worthy post years ago: There is no holiness but social holiness. He meant that our holiness should be reflected in the way we respond to poverty, hunger and other social issues. I think if old John were tweeting today, he might add just one word to his famous quote and write: “There is no holiness but social media holiness.” If holiness matters and apparently it does (see the above Hebrews 12 reference to no one seeing the Lord without holiness), then holiness standards apply to our Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Snapchat and Instagram postings too. Love should rule our social media content. Purity should guide what we search for on the internet.
With much thanks to John Wesley’s quote, there is no Holiness but social media holiness.