You Are What You Tweet

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The things I can do on and Facebook and Twitter are incredible.

I can let you know exactly what I’m doing at 2:01 P.M. on Tuesday afternoon (drinking my third cup of coffee). I can post that goofy picture of me and my buddy sporting our sweetest 80’s clothes. I can take a quiz that helps me identify which ‘The Princess Bride’ character I’m most like. I can catch up with my high school friends.

Yet in the midst of all this, something strange can begin to take place. I can feel as though the things I say and post on Facebook and Twitter don’t really matter. As if, somehow, the things I say and do online are separate from the real me. Come on, it’s just Facebook, right?

Wrong. In Matthew 15:19 Jesus said:

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

So what does this mean? It means that our status updates, photo uploads, wall posts, and online chats are a visible display of what is taking place in our hearts.

Posting flirtatious comments on someone’s picture isn’t “just what happens on Facebook”. Uploading an inappropriate photo isn’t just for fun. Relentlessly mocking someone isn’t what happens online. It’s the overflow of the heart. And it’s sin. What we do online is the real us. It doesn’t matter that we’re safely behind a computer screen.

And the sobering thing is, every action that takes place online has effects that last into eternity. Jesus said:

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak… (Matt. 12:36)

Let’s put that verse into online terms. On the day of judgment people will give an account for every careless Tweet they post. Every inappropriate status update. Every sinful picture. Wall post. Chat.

On the final day, I don’t want to regret the things I said in cyber space. So for now, I need to watch what I Tweet, upload, and wall post. Because I am what I Tweet.

Here are some questions to get us thinking. Parents, Facebook and Twitter provide excellent conversation topics. Use these questions as starting points.

  • Do I ever say anything on Facebook or Twitter that is impure or unedifying? (Ephesians 4:29)
  • Am I communicating with anyone online that I wouldn’t want my spouse/parents/friends to know about? (1 John 1:6-7)
  • What do my pictures, wall posts, status updates, and “friends” show about my heart?

Here’s the bad news: we’ve all sinned in this area. The good news is that Jesus Christ died for Facebook sinners like me. In light of this good news, let’s use Facebook and Twitter for the glory of God.

Note: This idea of the online me is the real me was first introduced to me by a pastor named Steve Whitacre. Thanks for your wisdom Steve!

Comments

  1. says

    And I think we’re not always equivalent to our facebook status or any internet comments. We can put cool things on that status or share insightful thoughts. But do we want to openly declare our sin of which we’d be ashamed? For me at least I don’t on facebook. I think our facebook statuses are only a part of us…but they don’t provide the whole picture. And even the good that seems to come out of us might not always be very…good.

  2. Christina says

    What you said was very true and so was what Rachel said in the comment above about some things simply being a sign of pride. How you spend your time on the internet says a lot about you too. Facebook and Twitter can easily become time wasters and hence take away time from Christ. Could you do a post on why/how to keep that from happening?

  3. says

    Very good post, Stephen! Thank You! I like what Rachel said about “subtle sins”. I find that I’m often tempted to complain or vent. The Holy Spirit has graciously kept me from doing this (I think:)) by reminding me that I’m supposed to build people up, encouraging them to look to Christ. Me whining about…doesn’t build up anything and certainly doesn’t point anyone to Christ. Very good reminders. Thank you, again.

  4. says

    Thank you. Status updates generally shout “look at me” and “help me feel important” and “I need you to validate my existence.” Pride is the root cause of all sin. I need to take jason’s verses to heart more often. Also great points by YellerDaisies about the complaining thing. This is what I needed to read this morning as God has been working with me quite a bit lately on these and some other similar issues.

  5. K.D. says

    I don’t really struggle with posting blatantly sinful things on facebook. However, I think I have the opposite temptation – to portray a me that is much more spiritual and God-loving than I truly am. I want people to see how much I love God, when the truth is that when the focus becomes me, I’m not truly loving Him like I should anyway.

  6. Jennifer says

    I think facebook can be an excellent tool for witnessing to others. Through this tool people can see the image of God in us and His workings in our lives as we grow closer to Him. I agree at all times we should be wise about what we say because we have the audience of hundreds of people…people who may be from our past and those who are currently in our lives. The great thing is that some of these people are not Christians but, make no mistake, they are watching us closely. These are people we hopefully have shared our faith and our walk with Christ and now they can spy on our daily lives and thoughts. We may have planted a seed in them decades ago and now we can continue to work towards loving them from miles and miles away. We can be honest and humble about our daily need for God’s grace…admitting that we are not perfect. They can see that it does not take perfection to have a relationship with God…but a broken spirit and heart…and it is through Christ alone. I agree with KD that we need to be careful to not be like pharisees on facebook showing ourselves to be hollier than thou but instead thankful for the God who is changing us. I think it is a fine balance between being careful to not to appear too righteous or too foolish.
    Today I had a conversation with a non-believer in town in line at the local coffee shop. She was telling me that she was annoyed with some “conservative christians” who were former classmates she grew up with. She was frustrated because on facebook they were posting status’ about “wisdom for deciding on whether to buy a house” or “praying to get a part in a play”. She said that God does not have time for these little concerns and that He is more concerned with starving people. She, knowing that I myself was a Christian, was baiting me. It was a great opportunity to share with her about God and His soveriennty and His ability to handle both the big and small. This led to a conversation about why poverty exists and the fall….eventually Christ. I checked my facebook 2 hours ago and she posted that she enjoyed our coversation and would like to talk again.
    I know she will be watching me on facebook. I will be quick to continue to speak God’s truth but also to show her God’ love. I can do this by supportiing her status’ when she posts she does not feel good or has had a bad day. I can show her God loves her and cares for her. I can post scripture…and she may just spy and read it ;).

  7. cipherCero says

    Such a good word. Very convicting, especially right after my friends and I had just spent half an hour ribbing each other on Twitter.

    It’s “funny” that as I read this, what hit me most was that I already agreed with what this said before I ever laid eyes on it.

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