The supreme joy in life is the comfort and delight of true relationships. In fact, this is what the Triune God designed us for — relationships with God and man. Christ’s reconciling mission included both, as the Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:16-18.
Now, what does this have to do with social media? Depending on how I use social media, it can actually hinder what God desires to do through relationships. Rather than making ourselves known to others (a key component of relationships) we can make ourselves unknown. And the more we post, the more unknown we can become.
A smiling selfie can mask my sadness. The picture of my kid and me at a restaurant can hide the fact that I don’t give my family the attention they need. A meme with a scripture verse might give the impression I’m a man of the Word, even if I haven’t cracked my Bible in the last month. A post requesting prayer for flood victims could give the impression I care more about something than I actually do.
This particular example comes to mind because I urged people to pray for Texas last week, but forgot to pray that day. Yes, I admit it; I’m guilty. In this case, I don’t think my main motive was to look spiritual–I really DID want people to pray–but I probably gave a false impression about my own level of spiritual maturity. I became unknown.
It’s no wonder that some studies have indicated excessive social media use leads to loneliness. So, let’s be real with one another, not carelessly spilling sensitive information for all the world to see, nor creating false impressions that actually separate us from the satisfaction of knowing and being known.
Maybe we should all go before the Lord and ask, “God, am I being honest in my social media? Am I making the ‘real me’ known to others? Or, perhaps fueled by pride, has it unintentionally become a tool for being unknown and thereby hindering life’s supreme joy: true relationships?”