Preaching to the social media choir
Preaching to the choir.
It’s a phrase used to express the ridiculousness of speaking with conviction to people who are already convinced of your position.
But through the sweet and gentle correction of a trusted friend I’ve come to notice that I do it all the time on social media.
Here’s how it happened:
I posted on Facebook about a comment I heard on a podcast. I wrote it in a way that implied that everyone who heard it would see it the same way I did; as an obviously foolish idea. I have to admit that my tone and the hashtags I used were obviously mocking and condescending.
My friend responded by telling me her story as it related to the quote and encouraging me to reconsider the way I’m posting about the opinions of others. In her mind, the way I was going about it was counterproductive to loving people into the kingdom of God.
Her approach was powerful and insightful. And she’s got me thinking about the why behind my social media posting.
I typically post things about my frustrations with the way the world is. And I often have the expectation that many of my “friends” will like what I have to say and acknowledge their agreement with a comment or click.
I make a snide remark about a comment I heard or a meme I read (many times in an effort to appear witty, funny, or wise). And I expect others who are cut from the same cloth as me to affirm my opinion.
As I’ve thought about my social media posts since then, I think that I’m making those kinds of comments because I love the praise of people.
- I want to be affirmed.
- I love to be acknowledged.
- I’m seeking the approval of others.
- I still want to be the cool kid (even though I never was).
But there’s something worse that could be happening when I’m doing this social media choir preaching.
What is it?
The worst part about preaching to the choir is that non-choir members hear what I say.
At first that may seem like a good thing. After all, I’m…
- “Enlightening” the masses.
- Educating them.
- Sharing some insight.
And especially because most of what I share is “Christian” in theme, it seems even more right to do.
But I’m beginning to question if that’s really what’s happening.
I’m wondering if I’m so wrapped up in my little corner of the world that I don’t even consider anymore how my words (wise, caustic, or otherwise) might be construed by those who are not in the choir.
- Those who are not even sitting close to the choir
- Those who don’t even like choirs.
Is it possible that instead of hearing a wise observation, they’re hearing condemnation?
Could the strength of my conviction be construed as anger at them, their beliefs, and their way of life?
Could my clever use of hashtags (#fail, #stupid, #FacePalm) actually be crushing their souls and embittering them toward people who call themselves “Christians” because I am one?
Even on Social Media, there are people on the other end of the interaction (yes, apparently I needed to be reminded).
- Real people.
- People God loves.
- People I’m called to love.