Social Media & Christianity: A Forgiveness Problem

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”Ephesians 4:32

Social media is a glass half full/half empty. Naysayers see the glass half empty, painting social with the broad brushstroke of “bad.” But every technology has a half full/half empty use case: it’s just a matter of perspective. Consider the telephone … conversations over distances (half full); annoying telemarketers (half empty).

What Is Forgiveness?

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”Luke 6:37

I’m no theologian, but I believe forgiveness is an act of absolution and an act of recollection. To forgive is to not simply forget. Forgiveness balances the act of mercy against the need to remember, the struggle for justice, and the refusal to be hurt again.

Forgiveness does not mean you are to ignore that a wrong was done or that you deny that a sin was committed. Forgiveness does not mean that you close your eyes to moral atrocity and pretend that it didn’t hurt or that it really doesn’t matter whether or not the offending person is called to account for his/her offense. Neither are you being asked to diminish the gravity of the offense.

Forgiving Those Who Trespass

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”Matthew 6:14

The commandment “forgive other people” is something I’m terrible at.[1] For me, carrying a grudge has always been (the best word is) “satisfying.” Growing up, the church wasn’t my home so the Christian practice of forgiveness wasn’t grounded in me.

Forgiving Those Who Tweet

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”Colossians 3:13

Within my sphere, I’m surrounded by devout, passionate Christians … loving brothers and sisters of the faith. At the same time, having worked in social media for nearly 10 years, I’m neck deep in the battlefield that social media can create (i.e., one of those half empties). And what I’ve learned on this battlefield is that when it comes to forgiveness, the Christian sphere and the social media sphere don’t mix well.

Should The Medium Determine The Grace?

“Hatred stirs old quarrels, but love overlooks insults.”Proverbs 10:12

Is this lack of grace wrong?

Proverbs 17:9 “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.”

Matthew 18:21–22 “‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”

Mark 11:25 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

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Travis Burchart

Social media expert, higher education advocate, writer, Founding Fathers fan, lawyer in a past life