Online Survival Guide

April 20, 2012

There is nothing that shows our human fallen nature faster than reading comments on YouTube video. People can express their unsolicited options in the harshest of terms.  Anytime you express yourself or share something you believe in on social media, from fashion to faith, you run the risk of getting some painfully nasty comments. Here are six ways to survive engaging hostile people online:

Image from Fallout Wiki

  1. Prayer: Praying isn’t the “easy way out.” Rather prayer will invite God into the conversation. Ask him to focus you on who/what is really important. (Hint: it isn’t the angry post).  Pray for wisdom and for a response (or non response) that will be pleasing to him.
  2. Do Not Respond: It is so tempting to respond to a person posting the raging ranting, bashing, or degrading comment.  Such comments push our “internal justice button” and we want to tell them all the reasons they are wrong and mean! Usually nothing good comes of responding. As it says in Proverbs 26:4, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly or you will be like him yourself.”  Most times these comments really aren’t personal, so do not view them that way. Instead, if the comment is really ugly, delete it, pray (!) and move on.
  3. Respond: This may seem like a contradiction to the above statement, yet, there will be times when an angry comment is made because the person has been misinformed. In this case, take some time to think about how to respond. Good responses can take some time to formulate so that your tone doesn’t come across as harsh or condescending. Also consider what source or links you might want to provide. Remember you are working to correct the misunderstanding, not to correct the person.
  4. Reserve the Right to Block the Offender- Some people practice a random hatter commenting, and others will persist in their attacks. If you have a person who strongly opposes your online evangelism efforts, you can always block them. Their negative comments don’t only affect you but have the potential to hurt others as well.
  5. Be Honest with Other Christians: Sometimes, even when we try not to take comments personally, one will still get to us. Be open in sharing this with a Christian friend- offline. Let them know what hurt you, and ask for prayer.
  6. Prayer: Again. Seriously. Pray for the person who offended you. It is hard to hold onto anger when you pray for them.

Here are six simple ways to survive a harsh comment online. What else have you found?

Perhaps you have used the +1 button to mark a helpful link in your Google search results. Maybe you have used it to mark an interesting article you have read. But have you thought that using the +1 button can help you share your faith?

As the above video shows, when a  person who has a Google profile clicks the +1 button, Google automatically uses this click like a recommendation. This means if your friend clicked +1, this would show up in your search results.  Even if there isn’t anyone you personally know who liked the page, Google will still display the number of people who have liked it.  This “like” or recommendation of sorts is to help you have more confidence in knowing the site you are about to visit — that it will actually have the information for which you are looking.

So, what if you liked a page that has a presentation of the gospel? We already know that millions of people a day are searching online for spiritual related information. It is safe to say that some of these millions might be people we know. If they were searching on Google, they would see the sites that you have clicked +1.  It is a virtual recommendation from a trusted friend. What if you +1ed an article that helped you grow in your faith? Your friends would be able to see this article when they searched.

The brilliance in sharing your faith this way is that it takes less than a second and meets people in the moment they are searching.  You can’t know or be there in every moment of everyday.  But by clicking +1 on pages you like, it is like you are leaving a sign to point people who are searching in the right direction.

If you are interested, help people find Jesus by visiting GodLife.com and click +1 on the gospel page or any of the GodLife articles that help you grow in your faith. What other sites can you +1 to share your faith?

Unplug

November 5, 2011

Recently one of our staff members stumbled across an article posted a year ago by Fast Company.  This article noted that people were becoming increasingly more and more connected. Not even beds or the bathrooms were out of reach of technology and connection.  The danger of this, they noted, was there were less “creative pauses” which are necessary.

“In these moments, you are completely isolated, and your mind is able to wander and churn big questions without interruption.”

As Christians, we should know that “time away” is even more important for us to tune into what God is saying. 1 Kings 19:9-18 describes God coming to Elijah in a “gentle whisper.”  Elijah had to get away and wait to hear the voice of the Lord.

How do you unplug? What do you do to get away? How intentional are you?

As the author of the Fast Company article pointed out, technology has even followed us into places like the bathroom, nothing is “sacred.”  We have to be intentional!

We must remember that Elijah didn’t stay in the cave, but that cave time was vital to what he did next. In the same way I am not saying “delete your twitter account, and deactivate your facebook forever!” I am asking, what do you stand to lose by NOT keeping some sacred spaces where you can meet with God totally unplugged?