Making Your Point Can Be Costly
by C.A. Phillips
Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT)
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
I think it’s fair to say that I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love being able to connect with friends, family, and colleagues – technology has enabled us all to stay in touch and preserve or create new relationships. That’s the positive side of the coin. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of “junk” that I am exposed to when I scroll through my social media feeds. I’m sure you’re no different.
My social medium of choice is Twitter. What I love about Twitter is that you can choose to follow those personalities and organizations to which you have a personal bent. For me, I tend to follow several sports organizations, athletes, and sports media. I enjoy sifting through the opinions-a-plenty that naturally flow out of the passion we all have for our favorite teams. But, if you’re not careful, an amusement can quickly become a poison that permeates your soul.
I had the opportunity to listen to a talk that Andy Stanley gave several years ago about our culture’s obsession with social media, and the dangers our careless posts pose to our influence on others. I’m paraphrasing here, but Andy said when we post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. – we can either choose to make a point, or we can choose to change a life. When our goal is the former, we squander our influence to do the latter.
Back to my love/hate relationship with social media, particularly Twitter. While I do enjoy catching up on the latest sports news and reading some fantastic articles, the trade-off is all the garbage I expose my mind to when I read fans’ emotional tirades and blistering comments. What began as an enjoyable morning has now derailed my psyche into cynicism and resentment. And, then, if I allow myself to get swept up into a debate with someone over whether the Braves should have considered trading Ronald Acuna for Christian Yelich, or why Jake Fromm should be the unquestioned QB for the Dawgs, I am choosing to make a point…and losing potential influence while I stroke my ego.
“So, you’re saying I can’t debate with people on social media?” I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is that there’s a price to pay when we make our agenda the priority. Is that worth it to you? That’s a question you’ll have to answer.
In the end, remember that we each carry a figurative bucket around with us. When we love and serve others, our bucket is filled with the influence we gain. When we choose to be self-serving and self-edifying, our bucket can empty quickly, and it becomes far more difficult to regain that influence.
And, our hearts should be positioned to verse 16 in the scripture above: when others see our good deeds, they see the light that comes from the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and God gets all the glory for it.
C.A. Phillips is a lifelong sports enthusiast and youth baseball coach, and currently serves as the Communications Pastor and Director of Men’s Groups at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, Ga. He lives in Kennesaw with his wife, Amy, and his two sons, Chaz and Chandler.
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