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Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter open the door for Christians to present the gospel to more people than ever before (over 500 million on Facebook, for example). But we must go fully equipped.
Before we even turn on the computer or phone, we should turn to God for insight, wisdom, and clear communication.
The book of James admonishes us to be slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19). The same is true of typing fingers. If a friend or follower posts an update that promotes atheism or evolution, prayerfully consider how you should respond. On Twitter in particular, you have only 140 characters to give a concise answer or link (use a link-shortening service like bit.ly to free up space). Angry public replies rarely help your followers or others reading your updates.
Think of making an impact through social media as a long-term project. Just as missionaries study a new culture to learn the best way to present the gospel, seek to love and understand the people you interact with. Pray for them if something bad happens; congratulate them on the good. Tell them the reason you care about them (the love of Christ). They’ll be much more likely to hear the gospel if you’re living it out—even if they see only a small window into your world.
Here’s the best rule for online behavior: if you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it there. Too many people, including Christians, use the anonymity of the Internet as an excuse to attack, degrade, and worse. Others will probably insult you for your beliefs at some point, so don’t be surprised. Surprise others by returning love for ridicule.
Acrimonious sparring on Facebook or tweets on Twitter do no one any good. Provide answers in a loving way, but remember that sometimes there’s a need for peace (Ecclesiastes 3:8). If the person mocks your response or tries to bait you through emotional words, respectfully decline or don’t answer at all. Your restraint speaks much louder than someone else’s bitterness.