A public service announcement to serve the public (like myself) who are tired of the facebook posts and emails that say “Share and receive a blessing” and “Only a true believer will share this,” “Satan wants you to scroll past this without sharing,” or “Deny me before man and I will deny you before the father.”
At first glance, I (and I am sure many of you) think that there is no way anyone can believe not sharing or liking chain mail or posts will automatically damn me to eternity in hell. Yet…the frequency with which I scroll past such posts has not lessened. And people wonder why the secular world makes fun of us.
When I see such posts and emails I think about the verse they are in reference to. It’s Matthew 10:33. In Matthew 10 we can read about when Jesus first sends his disciples out on their own to work for the Kingdom. They are sent out to act as Rabbis in their own right (though there is little evidence they practiced as a Rabbi in the traditional sense). But they are acting as Priests for Christ, teaching and healing and casting out demons with the power of Christ’s name. In Matthew 10, Jesus is giving them advice about how to go about this. And in Matthew 10:33, he says “But whoever denies me before men, I will also deny him before my Father in Heaven.” Yeah, people are using a verse about the importance of representing the Kingdom to get likes on facebook.
I am not saying that God can’t use such posts as a means to further his Kingdom. God can literally use a wet noodle to do his work if he chose too. But, the amount of frivolous attention seeking posts seems to be doing the opposite of what it was perhaps intended for.
But these countless posts seem to be having the opposite effect. These posts tend to annoy more than encourage or bolster faith in Christ. They seem to be so superficial and shallow in meaning. They have no message to them. If the intent is to start conversation, there are so many better ways (on and off of social media) to do that. Ask a deep question on faith, state a difference of view you may have because of your faith and see who answers. If you really want people to engage in a faith based interaction, you aren’t likely to start by saying “Christ only loves you if you like this post.”
These posts cheapen the meaning of what it means to follow Christ. They give false requirement and frivolity to the faith. They make following Christ seem as easy as clicking a like button.
Let me clarify that last statement. In truth, to accept Christ is even easier than clicking a like button. In fact, there are no physical requirements (as in required actions) to accepting Christ. It is merely a decision to believe that something is true. From the point you choose to do that, you have accepted him. But to follow him (there is a difference between accepting Christ and following Christ) you have to give up your life (your human nature that desires things not of God) and you have to make conscious efforts to live in a way that strengthens the Kingdom. Clicking like does not equate to being a follower of Christ. Not clicking like is not the same as denying him.
Christianity shouldn’t be viewed as a trend or a fad. It shouldn’t be the popular thing to do, because what is trendy or popular eventually becomes out of date. It becomes forgotten. Why should we put our faith in something so important on the same level with something as frivolous as posting which Hogwarts house you are on your profile pic (but since you asked, I am indeed a Gryffindor).
Again I am not saying these kinds of posts and chain e-mails aren’t inspired by good intentions or that they are completely pointless, but I do think they do little more than confuse those who may be unsure about what Christianity is all about. They see all this frivolity and fanfare, all these beautiful images with feel-good messages and an imperative message to like or share and they believe that Christianity is just as frivolous and feel-good. Christ is clear that following him is not easy, and he says that we should feel the best when we are being PERSECUTED FOR HIS SAKE (Matthew 5:11).
So I challenge you, all you facebook wanderers, I challenge you to change this trend. Every time you see one of these posts, don’t like or share. Don’t even think twice about it. Instead, write your own post. Ask a question. Pose a moral dilemma (there are plenty of them in our ultra-Western secular culture). Start an actual discussion on social media, not a fad. If you started a deep discussion on faith and how it relates to how we live in our society every time you read “Only a true believer will like this post,” chances are you will find something much more fulfilling, and gain more and give more than you would have if you liked or reposted something superficial.