In a world that is ripe with social media, I have noticed an alarming trend: we “like” everything! A family who are members of the Lord’s church will go on vacation to the beach. Inevitably, when they post pictures of themselves in immodest bathing suits, their post will have dozens of “likes” from the brethren. Each year when our young women post pictures of themselves in revealing dresses on their way to prom, the brethren rush to comment and tell them how beautiful they look. When an unwed mother announces to the world that she is expecting a child, our newsfeed explodes with brethren congratulating her and telling her how excited they are for her. In short: in a society where the world is at our fingertips, we have lost our sense of shame, and of sin.
In years gone by we were often blissfully unaware of the sin our brethren were ensnared by. We would see each other on Sunday morning and each put on our happy church face and go about our merry business. When sin did enter our midst, particularly through someone going forward to ask forgiveness, it was typically met with solemnity, forgiveness, prayer and encouragement to do better. It was easy to see the ugliness of this sin in the tears and broken hearts of the brethren who were asking for our help.
Times have changed. Instead of tears and heartache on the front pew, now when we encounter sin it wears the smiling face of people we love on social media. We know the statistics on the impact of living together before marriage and marrying a non-Christian. Yet when we see these happy, smiling posts on Facebook we naturally want to celebrate with those who are happy. We see the joy they are expressing in the moment, and we neglect the fact that by conforming to this world those that we love are putting their souls in jeopardy.
Sisters, sin is still sin. And as followers of Jesus Christ we cannot support it, even on social media. We may not hesitate to share a post about Jesus, but if in the next second we offer support and encouragement to a sinful behavior through a “like” or a positive comment, we are negating our influence for the cause of Christ.
Paul makes the result of sin clear in Romans 1:28-32, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
This is a lengthy list of sin. While most people we love would not fall into the category of murderers or haters of God, what about disobedient to parents? What about haughtiness, or faithlessness? Gossips? Even more sobering, how often do we encourage their unrighteousness through what we support on social media? And for the purpose of this study we need to draw specific focus to verse 32, “…they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” Sisters, when we give approval to sin, even on social media, in God’s eyes it is the same as if we had participated in the sin ourselves.
In the words of Paul, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16-17). I know that when we “like” these things we are just trying to be supportive and encouraging. In fact I truly believe that often our support on social media is an effort to bring these individuals back to our Savior. But the truth is that encouraging and supporting sin on social media is not being wise, and it is not making the best use of our time. Instead, it’s giving the evil around us an extra foothold.
We must remember passages such as Galatians 6:1, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself lest you too be tempted.” The word for “transgression” here means any wrongdoing, any moral violation of God’s standard. God still expects his people to dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9). God still expects us to be sexually pure (1 Corinthians 5:11). His word still teaches that marriage should only be between a man and a woman (Romans 1). He still expects our speech to be pure (1 Peter 3:10). To do otherwise is to transgress God’s law. And sisters, to offer support of such things, even on social media, places us in the wrong as well.
Jesus’ priority while He was on earth was the state of the souls around Him. If we are going to claim to be His people, then souls must be our priority as well. While I do not at all feel that public social media confrontation is the way to go, sisters I urge you, the next time you see an inappropriate post or status by your brethren, obey Matthew 18:15-17. Go to them. Share your concerns, and pray that they might be restored to the Lord and His church. According to 1 Peter 5:8, Satan is prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Let’s not leave our brethren floundering in the lion’s den of social media. Let’s ensure they know we love them enough to guard their souls, and we love them too much to ignore their sin.
May God bless you as you shine His light in this dark world.