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Hope for Social Media Conflict

Am I a Christian? Am I a child of God and a believer in Jesus? Am I a Christian twenty-four, seven? A child of God and a believer twenty-four, seven? So, if I behave as becoming my elevated position IN CHRIST in my daily, physical life, why would I break this protocol when I enter my cyber or social media life? Am I like Christ on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn?

Many people would never verbally attack the stranger standing behind them in the grocery check-out line, but they feel no qualms about attacking an online friend over differences in opinion concerning politics or points of philosophy or theology. If I am kind and thoughtful in person, why would I abandon that behavior and be aggressive or push my point with an online follower or friend?

One article speaks about online etiquette and offers some rules to guide social media behavior. Here are some of my favorite rules: 1) understand that a sense of humor isn’t necessarily universal; just because I think something is funny, doesn’t mean that everyone does. 2) don’t be reactive; do my responses reflect a thoughtful mind or simply an unchecked information dump? 3) am I building an online legacy for future followers and cyber relationships; do I think long term with my hope to influence and impact? 4) don’t misrepresent yourself; do I portray myself to be something other than I truly am? (10 Social Media Tips for Personal and Business Accounts/

I (usually) LOVE Twitter! It’s my favorite social media platform by far. I jumped on in September of 2015 to begin building a platform or audience for my books, but I soon loved it for different aspects and characteristics. My connections include members of the writing community, various political connections, Christians, and the health and wellness accounts. But sadly, I’ve watched Christians argue over varying points of theology. Their heated arguments are observed by non-Christians and atheists who jump in to attack their hypocrisy. Democrats argue with Republicans; conservatives argue with liberals. It’s as if removing the face-to-face aspect removes typical politeness and courtesy.

Proverbs has much to say about people who love confrontation and conflict, and none of it is good. Proverbs 15:18 claims that an “angry man stirs up strife.” “A froward (perverse, crooked) man sows strife (16:28); and he that has a proud heart stirs up strife” (28:25). Angry, perverse, crooked, and proud are hardly complimentary words. But the solution is found in Hebrews 12:14, “Follow peace with all men.” I guess this even includes the atheist who enjoys jumping into a timeline to spread his obvious lack of joy.

So where is the hope for good behavior on social media? Maybe, it lies in the advice of following or pursuing peace with all men online, just like I would in person. Hope can influence good manners that can be employed even on Twitter. May I be part of the solution and not part of the problem, spreading hope instead of hatred.

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