Can we talk about the over-sharing on Social Media? I’m not talking about divulging too much personal information but the over sharing of memes that appear to be Christian themed but are, well … how can I put this politely … are … not.
Probably the most common are the “share this and you’ll receive a blessing” type memes and posts. These sound encouraging on the surface but what they are actually doing is promoting the vending machine god idea: we put something in and we get something out. It makes our relationship with God transactional rather than grace-filled. When we share these we are presenting a false, and yes, harmful picture of who God is and who we are as God’s beloved children. God’s greatest blessing – life on earth as it is in heaven – is given to all without condition. No amount of social media sharing is going to earn this for us.
I saved one I saw recently because it was so very disturbing but I’m not going to share the picture here because I don’t want to help it circulate any further. So, as I take a deep breath and a long draw from my coffee mug, I’ll type the words: “God give you another week because He wants to give you another chance to pursue your dreams. Please never take this great opportunity for granted. This is your chance to make your dreams become reality. Do your best and allow God do the rest. Have a nice day!”
Whew, I need a moment, Y’all … that was painful. Let’s look at what this is actually communicating about our relationship with God.
This post presents a fairy-godparent and cheerleader type god who indulges our every whim and cheers us on whatever we want to do; a god that we can control. This post tells us that the point of our existence is to pursue our dreams. And yet, Jesus teaches us to pray “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” the ‘Your’ of course referring to God, not us. Our purpose when we follow Jesus is to be image bearers of God, to reveal God’s dream for all people to live now on earth as in heaven. We pray that God shapes our desires to be like God’s. We can’t ‘allow’ God to do anything and we are at our very best when we participate with God in bringing about God’s Kingdom.
In his second letter, Peter tells us, “Don’t let it escape your notice, dear friends, that with the Lord a single day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a single day. The Lord isn’t slow to keep his promise, as some think of slowness, but he is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to change their hearts and lives.” (2 Peter 3:8-9)
God gives us the gift of every moment and every day because God wants everyone to know unconditional (and unearnable) love. God doesn’t want us to relegate God to the background while we pursue our dreams and turn to God only when we are in trouble (cue the song “Jesus take the wheel”). God’s desire for us is that we know that God is the center of our life as we discover the joy of pursuing God’s dream every moment of every day.
If you’ve shared such things in the past, please don’t beat yourself up about it. I know your desire is to spread God’s love. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, we all do our best and then when we know better, we do better. This is one way we can do and be better: before sharing something we look at it, really look at it, and ask “what does this really say about who God is and who we are as God’s beloved children?”
We are all in this amazing thing called life together and together we help each other do better.
God’s peace, my friends!