Here’s how to be loving to friends that post hateful things on Facebook.
I am so glad that elections only come every once in a while because I am wearied of seeing other Christians opposed to one another as if God is either a Democrat or a Republican (Independent, etc.). God is over all of course, so whatever happens is God’s will anyway, so why not accept Who He wills to be in office. What frequently happens on Facebook is, instead of addressing the candidate’s political positions, people on Facebook start to attack the candidate themselves. My question is, “What about the issues? Aren’t those important?” Do we really have to assassinate other people’s political choices? It sometimes reaches the point where they begin to attack one another and begin to speak ill of one another. This is where we have to be very loving to our friends on Facebook, and you might even have to unfriend them. It’s not the end of the world, but if they continue to spout negative things about other people or even their life circumstances, it doesn’t do their witness for Christ very much good. The Apostle Paul reminds us that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1st Tim 6:6), so bashing one another over whoever they’re voting for does no one any good. In fact, it does much harm for the cause of Christ.
Friends Tell You the Truth
Those who are your real friends will tell you the truth, even if it hurts, and don’t you want to know the truth? Wouldn’t you rather have the faithful wounds of a friend than the empty, flattering kisses of an enemy (Prov 27:6)? The Bible says “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17), and there is a lot of adversity when you have to tell your friend that they’re not being Christ-like. A friend doesn’t just love you enough to tell you the truth when its good news; he or she loves enough to come to you and tell you that you’re words are hurting others. How sad when Christians are attacking one another’s posts on Facebook and over things that won’t matter in eternity. Remember, “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (or sister) (Prov 18:24b), and who is close enough to you to tell you the truth. The moment we stop being teachable, God may be done with us, and that’s not a good thing. If we are doing nothing more than shouting at one another across the Internet, we’ve shown unbeliever’s that we’re no different than the world. Why would the ever desire to believe in that!? Can you blame them?
Remind them of Scripture
I am reminded in Scripture where Jesus talked about correction one of His own. He said, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (Matt 18:15). If a brother or sister becomes so negative as to hurt the Body of Christ, then that person needs correction and needs to be reminded that they are sinning by the way the tear down others, either in person or on Facebook or any social media. If you can’t get anywhere by yourself, Jesus says, “take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses” (Matt 18:16). If that doesn’t work, just consider him or her as you would an unbeliever (Matt 18:17). If you love your brother or sister and you see them entering into debates are arguments, and you may have to do what the Apostle Paul told Timothy; “not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers” (2nd Tim 2:14), so “avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless” (Titus 3:9), and “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels” (2nd Tim 2:23).
How do you show love to friends on Facebook that post hateful things? You post loving things. You post about God’s goodness and mercy and that God is the One Who will avenge all wrong (Rom 12:19), not us. You comment on their negative posts that there is no reason we should be posting anything hateful. Jesus said there’s a chief identification mark for all believers. He said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). They’ll know we are Jesus’ disciples if we love one another, not by our gifts or by our words, but by our love for one another. Otherwise, Jesus is saying if you claim to be a believer but aren’t very loving in your public posts, then they won’t know whether you’re His disciple or not because it is by this love that “all people will know that [we] are [His] disciples…” or not. The Apostle Paul tells us to “encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1st Thess 5:11), and “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:29). That means no corrupt posts I assume. Whatever is good for building up, say on! It is better to say nothing at all than to say or post something that tears down others.
I do not spend a lot of time on Facebook because I’d rather have my face in the Book, the Bible. Instead of being on Facebook, I am on my face before God, but if you have friends who post very hateful things on Facebook, let them know that it’s not right! Be their friend enough to tell them the truth. Remind them of Scripture which tells us arguments only lead to ruin and division. And tell them that we are commanded to build one another up, not tear one another down. If we do, how are we any different from the unsaved world? We’re to be salt and light, not wounding with words. If you’ve tried all these things and they still don’t stop their hateful posts, unfriend them, but tell them why you are before you do so.