Twenty-five years ago, there was a phrase that was familiar to most New Testament Christians: “bringing reproach upon the church.” A person who was caught publically intoxicated or caught having a marital affair brought shame upon the church, as well as themselves. Christians committing a public sin were expected to go forward at their local congregation and ask for the forgiveness of the congregation. After all, that person represented all the Christians in that particular community.
Fast-forward twenty-five years and that particular phrase has been cast on top of an antiquated heap of words that are not used very often. Most young people today have probably never heard that phrase used in the Lord’s invitation. But the situation remains: New Testament Christians can bring reproach upon the church by their very actions. And sadly, for many Christian young people, this reproach is just one click away.
Want a modern-day example? How about when a Christian “likes” or “retweets” someone’s post that contains profanity or immodesty? Sure, the Christian was not the originator of the post, but their “like” or “retweet” has now brought it before the eyes of their friends and family—and sadly, it now bears the Christian’s stamp of approval.
There are two problems with this situation. First, and probably most critical, is a heart problem. What you “like” displays a window into your heart. Why would a Christian young person today be “liking” a post or meme that contains profanity, vulgar slang, or indecent language? Or why would they retweet or like an image of someone scantily clad? These are not things that a person seeking to be more Christ-like would be doing. These are symptoms of someone who has fallen comfortable being in the world. This is someone who has not put on the new man, and has forgotten what it was that put Jesus on the cross.
Second, this individual has forgotten that they represent the church to many of their friends or coworkers. They are “Christians” in the eyes of classmates or coworkers. And so those lost in sin look at this behavior and never feel any conviction about their own sin. They look at this Christian and feel comfortable—because after all, they are not much different from one another.
Friends, it matters what you “like” or “retweet” on social media. It matters what your friends think you are putting your stamp of approval on. Christ died for His bride, the church. When you click that “like” button you are a representative for His bride. Don’t take your job too lightly. And don’t “like” something that crucifies Him afresh.
By Brad Harrub, Ph.D.