Love Your Enemies on Facebook

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matt. 5:43-46)

Every generation of Christians must learn to reimagine what it looks like to be a Christian in the times in which they live. The ethics and morality of Christianity do not change. We still follow the same commands that Jesus gave 2,000 years ago, but we live in much different times than the first followers of Jesus. We face new and different challenges.

One significant change we have seen in the last few years is the role social media now plays in the lives of many people. Because Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are new does not mean they are exempt from the ethics of Christ. Instead, we must consider what it means to be a Christian on social media.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes it clear how we are to treat others. If we only love the people who love us, then we are no different than everyone else. Jesus calls us to love our enemies. Much of social media is comprised of people who only love the side that agrees with them. Facebook and Twitter are full of people who hate those who are on the other side, but Jesus expects us to act differently. We are not to be like the world. We are to love those on the other side. This does not mean we have to agree with them, but it does mean we are to treat them with kindness and respect. We should treat them the same we would like to be treated. We should give them the benefit of the doubt. We should strive to understand their positions rather than make assumptions. We are to love our enemies, even on social media.

If we cannot love our enemies on social media, then we should log off. For some Christians, this might be the only option, but a better way to engage social media is to show people Jesus. We do this by being different from others. The world expects us to love those who love us and hate those who hate us, but we are called to give them what they don’t expect. We must envision a different kind of social media. We must seek to transform Facebook and Twitter. We must be the hands and feet of Jesus wherever we go.

Scott Elliott is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and Austin Graduate School of Theology. He lives in La Grange, TX and is the minister for the La Grange Church of Christ. He is married and has two sons. He enjoys writing about the Christian faith and posting the occasional film review. His articles and reviews have appeared in RELEVANT magazine, Englewood Review of Books, and other publications.