Most of the time, social media has been a blessing to me. Not all relationships can withstand social media though. Sometimes, it is better for friends not be “friends,” and in light of missionary work, today I took some steps to build some healthy boundaries and keep healthy friendships well. Here are my three ways to build better relationships:
- My personal Facebook: This is for friends, family, co-workers, and those “grandfathered” in over the years (because, well, we’ve become great friends from a distance). Oftentimes, I will ignore Facebook friend requests unless I know them as a personal friend. If you are a ministry contact, please “like” my Facebook page or request via email to join our Technology and Missions Page. I do want to connect with you, but Facebook limits the amount of friends one can have on their personal profiles. This is why I created a page. I have 22 social networks. I am active on most of them; and all of them, when I am 100% supported.
- Healthy Discussion by Example: One of the things I have done over the years was to create a comment policy so discussions and disagreements can be civil. This applies to all my Facebook accounts and some other social media where I can monitor the thread. I believe we can treat each other with love and not agree with everything the other person stands for. In doing so, I delete comments that are name calling, a put down to the person’s character, or come off as angry and sound confrontational. There are 52 Bible Verses talking about “self-control.” James 1:19-20 says, “Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry. This is because an angry person doesn’t produce God’s righteousness.” I believe we can be loving to others with any confrontations done in private message, text, email, phone call, or face-to-face; never in the public eye.
- Refraining From Being Right: The church I work at is doing a sermon on the tongue, and James really hits it hard on the power of the tongue and its consequences. When perusing my social media, I may disagree with someone, but I only respond if it is a misrepresentation of the truth or if there is a chance they are open to discussion. Politics can be a stumbling block to some in seeking Jesus. It is such a hard balance to maintain. Share my politics and become that stumbling block or say nothing? I believe a happy middle ground exists. I think people can share their views if we all practice tolerance towards those we disagree with (and I’m not talking about the tolerance in the accepting way). Tolerance in being kind as we disagree. This goes back to point number two. Or if a conversation is going badly, refraining from further discourse to preserve the friendship. Make sure you are relying on the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you navigate social media and relationships.