“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
I’m not sure we fully understand the responsibility that we have been given. An ambassador is an authorized messenger and a representative. So this responsibility is really two-fold. A messenger relays the message he or she has been given. For our context today, this would be the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A representative is one that stands or acts in the place of another. In other words, we are vessels that God speaks and works through. Anyone who chooses to identify themselves as a Christ follower has signed up to be an ambassador for Jesus Christ. The obedience and responsibility that you and I will be held accountable for is representing Jesus. This goes far beyond saying that we believe in Jesus; it’s much more about how we live out that claim.
It’s funny to think that just 10 years ago, Facebook wasn’t even in our vocabulary. Twitter, Instagram, and Vine weren’t on our radars. But now they are. These social networks have permeated nearly every part of our lives, and because of that, our lives are on display, whether we want them to be or not. People are watching us, and they are coming to their own conclusion of who Jesus is based on our representation of Him. So what does it look like to live a “virtual” life of integrity and to be above reproach in all manners of social media?
1. Don’t air your dirty laundry on Facebook, Twitter, and the like. Social media is not the place to host an all-out Jerry Springer episode titled “The Real Life of You.” Whatever you put out there stays out there…forever. Use wisdom and discernment before you click “publish” or “send” or “post”. Foolish and filthy talk and behavior is not appropriate nor is it fitting for a child of God.
2. Don’t air someone else’s dirty laundry on Facebook, Twitter, and the like. We sugar coat this in many, many ways, such as asking for prayer for so-and-so. Let’s just call it what it is – IT’S GOSSIP, and it’s displeasing to the Lord. It’s not your job to publish someone else’s business, and social media is certainly not the setting to air their news even if it were appropriate…which it’s not.
3. Social media should never be used as an outlet for you to vent, complain, and unleash all your damaging emotions. That’s what prayer is for. Take those frustrations to God. He can handle them. Many of us cannot. Have we forgotten that God has commanded us to do EVERYTHING without complaining and arguing? (Philippians 2:14) Or do we just think that this command does not apply to social media? Have we forgotten that in the virtual age that we live in, we probably “represent” ourselves far more online that we do in face-to-face interactions? God cares about this. We should too.
4. No more selfies! One thing that social media has successfully accomplished is inducing a level of self-absorption within us like nothing else I’ve ever seen. We are obsessed with self. We post pictures of ourselves with seductive expressions and too much cleavage, and it needs to stop, ladies. A great way to filter this conversation would be to ask yourself one simple question every time you’re about to post something: “What’s my motivation?” What type of attention are we really after?
Bottom line, we are ambassadors. Everything we say and do represents the God we claim to love. How are you representing Him? This matters.