The hardest war to fight is the one you don’t know you are part of. It’s when you are blamed for what you don’t even know. When accusations are levelled and you are called names without knowing what you’ve done. For most Christians that’s how it feels to live in this post-truth era, especially on social media. You wake up one day only to find that you are the enemy. That what you were taught and believed as the ideal is no longer what the society values.
You see our parents grew up in a world that was largely influenced by Christian values. Though in a secular world the home was shaped by biblical views. Society valued truth and integrity. And our laws were derived from truth and justice. People respected and admired the Christian faith. They still had issues with the Bible’s stand but it was respected and generally accepted as truth. But we now live at a time when truth is not just relative it’s highly contested. Ours has moved to the other side where one’s truth, not the objective truth is the litmus test.
It’s hard to be a Christian let alone do Christian ministry in this culture. Although the world is closer than ever before it’s even harder to reach. Social media has brought us closer together but the prevailing culture means Christians are not as welcome at this dinner table. The table is set but only those who sing to the tune of the culture get to talk and be heard. So how do we swim against this current? How do we stand for the truth in a world that rejects it and looks down on its disciples? Here are a few things you might find helpful.
Know the Culture
When you share a Christian post online and people seem to immediately unleash their wrath sit and ask what’s the problem behind the attacks. I pity it when people try to explain their stand more only to get further attacks. They diagnose the problem as a lack of knowledge and a need for clarity when it’s the prevailing culture they’ve misunderstood. Before long they are caught up in name-calling when they should have heard the drums of war earlier to change the battlefield.
To share the Gospel and stand for Biblical values in this space will call for us to know the culture and be wise in how we engage with it. Otherwise, we’ll be talking to a wall and doing more harm than good. We need to know our audience, listen to their questions and the question behind the question. To catch this fish we need to understand how deep the waters go and what other predators lie in wait. Before this culture, you could make your case and finish before a counterattack. But today they won’t even allow you to finish your thought process. You’ve got to anticipate how your message is heard and misheard.
Survey Your Audience
In God’s goodness and especially after the pandemic many Christians have made good use of this global village. After COVID 19 churches that had been opposed to social media have reconsidered and changed their stand. But we shouldn’t confuse this platform for the pulpit on a Sunday morning. It’s one of the many other platforms we should use to make our case. You see when people walk into the church they come ready to hear what the Bible says. Yes, there will be a number of unbelievers on a good day and many who might take issue with the Bible’s stand but they came nevertheless. That’s a very different audience to the one on Facebook.
While the church doors tone down the opposition, social media encourages it. If you use this as your main ministry you’ll need to rethink your audience and tactics. Here you’ll come face to face with the prevailing culture and it won’t smile back at you. Be ready for counterattacks and know when to fold before it’s too toxic to bear. Better yet see this as the notice board to invite people for the discussion, not the battlefield itself. Remember Jesus spoke to the masses but always sought to grow his disciples behind closed doors.
Relationship always wins when it comes to reaching people with the Gospel and especially so in this post-truth era. People will argue all day long on social media but they’ll be willing to listen to someone who goes the extra mile beyond the debate. Now more than ever we need to exercise our Christian values of love, grace and generosity to those we seek to reach and disciple. We need to be heard and be seen living out the Gospel. But this shouldn’t be simply a way to manipulate people into faith. We should apply the Gospel in our relationships regardless of the outcome as that’s the call of godly living.
In this era, people will easily smell an act and though it’s post-truth people still want legit Christian men around them. Let us be that light in this confusing world. Let’s hold tight to the true Gospel and share it as often as we can. But all while being wise as a serpent on the different platforms we use. And adorning that Gospel in our lives and relationships. We can’t just shout the truth, we need to tell it wisely and invite others to see us walk in it. And once this lion of truth is unleashed it’ll deal with the lies of the age.