Think about it ... social media exposes whatever is in your heart

January 31, 2019
(Bishop David Graves for The Montgomery Advertiser) - My seminary professor of preaching was Dr. Fred Craddock who said, “The longest journey any of us will ever make is from the head to the heart.” Think about that for a moment.

Often what we communicate comes more from our head and from emotions that leave the heart far behind. It is no secret we live in a world dominated by social media. Social media has many good qualities and I’ve seen first-hand positive action come from it. There are countless stories of inspiration, families and friends that are reunited after many years, upcoming events that are well worth our time, and precious pictures that warm our hearts.

Yet, we’ve also witnessed the dark side of social media that tears people down, hurts them, and leaves a trail of woundedness. People of all ages feel they are never worthy enough comparing themselves to people they’ve never met. We see the division it creates in politics, personal relationships, and even in our churches. Think about it.

Recently, a friend told me a story about his daughter’s employment with a major airline. When she attended her orientation, the new employees were told that if they have a Facebook account, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media account, they recommended deactivating those accounts. They did not require them to do so, they simply highly suggested it. The airline explained that they would monitor their social media accounts and should they post anything not in line with the integrity or policies of the employer, they could be terminated. The airline emphasized that if they are employing and paying them, they would be required to live up to their principles. Think about that for a moment. I can’t find fault with the airline for taking this clear, yet powerful stance. I have seen many posts from people that leave me speechless and leave me to wonder if they remember who they represent whether it be their fellow family members, an employer, a volunteer group, church, etc.

It causes me to wonder: if we held our pastors and lay leaders to this same standard, what would be the outcome? For we not only represent ourselves, but the church. Most importantly we represent God. More times than I would like to recall, we have had to tell pastors to remove posts on social media. Do we not realize that when we post on social media, we are inviting the whole world into our lives? Even adults don’t seem to understand that there is no removing your online history. We do so without taking time to journey from our head to our heart. Think about it!

We have become a society addicted to our mobile devices and often do not take the time to build relationships with people we encounter. Hear me when I say I have been as guilty as everyone else. I am preaching to myself and allowing you to journey with me for a moment. I gave up all forms of social media several months ago. I am not asking you to take that drastic leap, but I am asking when you share on social media to simply think for a moment and take the time to journey from your head to your heart. Don’t we all want to share our best self? Don’t we want to represent good and not harm? Take the journey from your head to your heart. It is good to remember that what we put in our heart will present itself through what we think, say or post on social media.

Will you think about it?