It’s time for some #realtalk. I’m going to say what everyone wants to.
I don’t know of a soul on twitter that loves to see someone RT a compliment, encouragement, round of applause, or Awana patch. Plainly, we don’t’ like it. Stop it. Seriously. Stop it.
And it’s not only that people don’t like it—it’s just gross. Their is something swampy about RT’ing what someone says about you. And it’s actually achieving the opposite of what you want. You don’t win people by RT’ing a word about your book, sermon, article, song, etc.—you lose people. And you probably lose more than followers, you lose respect. A good name is to be favored over a wealth of retweets and praise (Proverbs 22:1).
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. (Proverbs 27:2)
Social Media as Spiritual Warfare
To overstate my case, it’s a Satanic impulse. It’s from our old nature. Our old man craves the praise of man. It makes him feel good in a really bad away. Satan wanted to ascend above the Most High, and I wonder if with every little RT, we too, are subtly trying to climb—not above the Most High, but a slithering climb over others.
I know these feelings. There are times when I want to RT a compliment, and it’s out of egotistical, serpent-like desires. It’s not a new craving, it’s an ancient tendency to glorify self. With every tweet, we are at risk of packing our sandcastle or tearing down strongholds, attacking cosmic powers or glorying Jesus Christ, or glorifying ourselves.
The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise. (Proverbs 27:21)
140 characters can have a massive impact on your soul. How careful do you watch your feed, tweets, and likes? “The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Jesus and the Praise of Man.
For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. (2 Cor. 10:18)
For Christian—let me emphasize that again—Christian Pastors, this practice must cease and desist. We need more Christlike Twitter habits.
Doesn’t our Lord Jesus have much to say about reporting, loving, and spreading the praise of men? Jesus has deathly words toward a “loving to be seen by others” way of life.
This is big.
Why RT a compliment? What is the purpose? Well, so others can see it.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1 ESV)
If Twitter and Facebook are not extensions of our practice of righteousness—or to put it another way—if social media outlets are used in a self-righteous way, or an unrighteous manner, it is time to repent or shut it down.
When you get an encouraging word, “don’t sound the trumpet” with a RT (Matthew 6:2).
Don’t let your timeline feed know what your mention feed says (Matthew 6:3-4).
Don’t take an encouragement that occurred secretly and bring it to Twitter Time Square. (Matthew 6:5).
“Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.” (Proverbs 25:6–7 ESV)
Don’t ask for retweets. Or for your art to be hucked around. It is better for it to just happen. Meaning, it’s better for your soul.
Walk away from your use of tweets justified (Luke 18:14).
“One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23 ESV)
If we have been crucified with Christ, we must crucify our craving for the applause of men––and the broadcast of their applause. Jesus is our help. He gives us an identity that melts the praise of men. We are sons and daughters, we are co-heirs. Retweet that all day.
As a bonus, be sure to listen to John Piper talk about this very thing.
Is it always wrong to share?
Now, I know there is a odd smell going on here.
Jeff, didn’t you post a link to this post on Twitter and Facebook?
Yes, yes I did.
Well, how is that any different?
There are two things at work here.
There is nothing inherently slimy about posting a link to work (though it could be), your words about the Lord, on your social media. People, friends, colleagues, follow you and me for a reason. And one of those is to read what we say, because we are here to serve. I don’t feel odd sharing a link of something I wrote, no more than I do getting up to preach on Sunday. When I’m preaching, I’m proclaiming God’s word, and not to be overlooked, what I’ve learned about God’s word, to God’s people, for God’s glory. But imagine if my sermon was sprinkled with bits and chunks of what others said about me. Whoa. That’d be weird. View your Twitter feed like a sermon. It should be about the Lord and his grace, a little humor (if you are actually funny), a little personal, but mostly about God. The problem with a self-propping RT is that it turns my feed from serving others into serving me.
When we post our own links, pictures, etc.—and we are genuine about wanting to serve God’s people, it brings glory to God. Whoever blogs, let him blog in the strength that God supplies in order that everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, forever and ever (1 Peter 4:10-11).
Now, should you never ever RT a compliment? Let wisdom decide. I’m not the twittersphere’s Mayor. If you link to an article, song, sermon you gave that you haven’t linked to yet—maybe you didn’t even know about it—share it. I probably do want to see it. Your Twitter and Facebook peeps want to know about it, that is why they follow you after all. We just don’t want to hear about how great you are, and how amazing other people think you are, all the time. I already know you are worth following––that’s why I follow you.
And yes, I’m sure you can throw a football over those mountains. We know.