Today, we will discuss why pastors should avoid politics on social media. With the advent of social media world, many people used it for various reasons. For one, it is used to connecting with people particularly friends. It is mainly intended to make friends and to connect with the existing ones. Some also use social media to create and promote business.
While some use it for building relationships and making business, politicians also use social media to promote their own propaganda. It cannot be denied that there are so many lies now that is being propagated against each other. No matter what side you are in, both are guilty of propagating lies and accusations.
Also read: Not One of Them
Unfortunately, there are pastors who are entangled on political issues. So here are reasons why you should avoid social media when it comes to politics and what you can do:
Social media has been weaponized by politicians. If you are a “die hard” supporter of one political side, most likely you have turned to be a weapon of that politician or better yet, you already have allowed yourself to be used by them. Admit it or not, the primary job of pastors is to spread the gospel, NOT propaganda of politicians.
I am not saying that you cannot air your political opinion. But showing your outmost opposition without balancing it with commendation or vice versa, the politician whom you are inclined with has successfully weaponized you for his own benefit.
Not all your members agree with the politician you are supporting. While your members respect you and your opinion, this is not a guarantee that they will support your opinion concerning politics. In worse case scenario, they will react with it negatively. Believe it or not, many relationships have been tainted because of politics.
Other people on social will not agree with you. If not all your members can agree with you, then all the more that some people outside will also not agree with you. Worse, you will be plagued by the politician’s weapon, “TROLLS”. If you haven’t noticed, 80% of bashers to your comments are coming from trolls.
Trolls is a weapon the politicians use to propagate their propaganda, bash their critics, and sow doubts to the credibility of the critics. Haven’t you noticed their “regular attacks”? Instead of answering your criticisms, they will attack you personally and bash you. If you try visiting their accounts, they don’t have authentic pictures, they have very few friends, and no other personal info that you can see in their profiles.
Social media can hurt you. Whether we like it or not, trolling is a true weapon. It will discredit you with your opinion. While trolls can see who you are, you don’t know them. Many of them are paid, while some do it for fun. They find it amusing insulting people and throwing trash on them.
While trolls can badly hurt your feelings, how much more when you see your colleague also throwing trash at you just like a troll. You can’t blame him, he is also a victim of demonization of trolls.
It can also hurt your reputation if you are not careful in your engagement. I am following a current thread on Facebook and it talks about negatively against our president. Sadly, I know some pastors who are commenting on it who obviously gave in with the temptation. What surprises me, many of them commented some foul words and can surely hurt someone. Obviously, no one is blessed reading those.
So what can you do?
While we are all entitled to our opinion, it is best to value relationship and ministerial opportunity over political issues. So here are some tips.
- Be courteous on your comment. If you are courteous and can maintain it as you respond to comments, you will always win and people will even say sorry to you. Don’t expect it though with trolls.
- Reply “Troll”. If there’s someone who bashes you, check the profile if it is a troll. Again, you will know if it is a troll or not by checking their profile. If they have 100-200 friends or even less and doesn’t have personal pictures, most likely it is a troll. It is against the law to use images of other people and they can be held legally liable with it so trolls will prevent on using other people’s personal images. And since they are hiding their profiles, they will not also use their own images. So if there’s a troll bashing you, just reply “troll” with all their bashing and comments. Don’t answer them directly. Challenge them to use their own personal account if they want to be answered. Remain courteous even if they are insulting you. Get back to them by your challenge to use their profile. They will stop eventually.
- Avoid name branding. Calling people as “tards”, “loyalists”, and other brandings can ignite temper. Real people are provoked when branded even if sometimes they do fit the branding. The point is, nobody likes to be branded no matter how true it is. So in the name of relationship and of our Lord Jesus, don’t brand people. John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” There is no love in branding people especially if you are branding your colleague.
- Comment intelligently. Nothing defeats intelligent comments. Not even bashing. I already said how you can over turn the tide of discussion even when bashed or trolled. So just maintain those intelligent comments.
- Avoid sharing propaganda. How much do you share propaganda of a politician? Review your timeline. Some of you will realize that most things you share are propaganda of politicians being propagated by trolls and hired bloggers. The point however is, “YOU SHOULD BE SHARING THE GOSPEL” NOT propaganda. Worse, is when you fail to filter the propaganda you share. Some are even videos of bloggers who are cursing other politicians. Should that really be shared to your timeline?
Also read: True Wisdom and Understanding
Learn to respect other people’s opinion. Don’t insult “real” people no matter how rude they are. Believe me, you can win them when you learn to respect them.
In conclusion, we need to be careful in airing our political opinion in social media. Avoid riding with trolls. Don’t do what you want them to do. Don’t give in to what politicians want to happen.
Finally, remember that God called you to proclaim His gospel, NOT the politician’s gospel. While it is not wrong to air your opinion, remember that your focus should be on spiritual matters especially the gospel.
Here are some verses to read:
Titus 2:7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness
1 Peter 2:17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.