"Understand this, my dear people: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry." - James 1:19
Access to social media has revolutionized the way we communicate.
Social media leveled the playing field for those who would otherwise have no voice in politics, culture, and commentary. Imagine a world without #BlackLivesMatter calling for racial equality--or a world without #LoveWins, celebrating the recognition of same-gender marriage by the Supreme Court.
We celebrate, protest, and lament through social networking.
Through posts and tweets, we also have new ways to proclaim the gospel. I am always blessed when people write to the United Church of Christ on Facebook to say they "never knew a church like this existed" or that our inclusion "saved their lives."
But when I read this passage from James, I wonder if he would have been a fan of Twitter. Or Facebook. Or the infamous "comment section."
Social media may be an amazing tool, but it often brings out the worst in us.
We'd rather assume being right is more important than being kind. We'd rather dismiss a viewpoint than encourage a conversation. We'd rather be the first to make a statement than the first to start a movement.
God's commandments to love don't change just because we're in front of a computer screen or a smartphone.
When we proclaim we are hurting people on social media in the name of the gospel, we disrespect ourselves, we disrespect our faith, and we disrespect our God.
Before you start a Facebook or Twitter war in the name of our Lord, ask yourself one question.
Who would Jesus troll?
Let the words of my tweets and the meditation of my posts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord. Amen.
Marchae Grair is newly UCC and loving it. She is the Social Media Associate for the national setting of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio. She is thankful for her life filled with family, friends, streamed television, and pocket-sized pups. Follow her on Twitter at @MarchaeGrair