Main Point: We must treat others with love and kindness in the real world AND the virtual world.
The Discussion Starter:
Have you ever wondered what it would have been like if Facebook had been invented in the 1950s? Well, you’re about to find out!
With over 1 billion members on the social media site called Facebook, it’s bound to get a little nasty from time to time. We’ve all seen passive aggressive and NOT SO passive aggressive behavior from our online “friends.” You know what I’m talking about. Somebody spreads gossip, posts a mean pic, or leaves a snarky comment on somebody’s post. It’s mean and hurtful.
Let’s take a moment to look at a funny little clip to show us what TO DO and what NOT TO DO when we go online.
The Video Clip:
The video can be found online at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zM8WvMNtC7A
Gee willikers, that was pretty funny. But it was only funny because it didn’t happen to us. Both of those squares created a lot of unnecessary drama for one another. Seriously, we can all relate to that situation, can’t we? Sadly, we’ve seen this play out from some of our friends on Facebook, whether they are Christians or not. As Believers, regardless of whether or not we are in the real world, or the virtual world, love must define us, and respect must come from us. We must treat others with kindness and love at all time…even online. Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about how we are to treat others.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and your favorite social network.
- ASK A FEW: What’s one thing you like about Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?
- ASK A FEW: In general, do you think social media benefits our society? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: What are some of the drawbacks?
- ASK A FEW: If all social media suddenly disappeared from the web, how would that make you feel?
- ASK A FEW: Have you ever seen someone get hurt on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter?
- ASK A FEW: Is it easier to be mean to someone online or in person? Why?
- ASK A FEW: What do you think God’s opinion of social media is? Why?
- ASK A FEW: Does God have a standard for our online lives that’s different from our face-to-face lives? How do you know?
Read the following passage:
Romans 12:9-10 (NLT)
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
During our time together, we watched a funny little clip that allowed us to laugh at the way some people behave online. But the way some of us treat others online and have been treated by others online is no laughing matter.
What we’ve decided in our small groups is that God cares deeply about how we treat one another in real life and in our online life.
Social Media isn’t going anywhere. It will only become more and more ingrained into our culture as time goes on. That means, we must learn how to manage it and ourselves. For starters, we never get God’s permission to be a jerk or less than holy. A racist joke online is still a racist joke. An inappropriate sexual remark online is inappropriate, period. Likewise, a kind word is always appreciated, even if it’s on a screen. An encouraging word is also just as welcome from others, even though it was typed instead of spoken.
As Jesus followers, you and I must choose to set boundaries for ourselves that will show the world that we are defined by God’s love, regardless of the setting. Being committed to loving others in all situations brings pleasure to God. Let’s make sure we do that wherever we leave our footprints.
I’m going to pray for us in a moment, and then we’ll close up shop. But if you’d like to hang around and talk about something that happened online, just grab me or one of our adult volunteers. We’d love to spend more time with you.
Close in Prayer: (A Sample Prayer)
Jesus, You are Love. You are not just loving toward us, You are the definition of love. Teach us how to be loving, when love is the last thing on our mind. Show us how to respond when people online are spreading rumors or causing unnecessary drama. Help us be different when we feel betrayed by people on social media. Give us the wisdom to know when to speak, and when to just turn off our computers. We want to make You proud as we strive to live like You a little more every day. We love You, Jesus. Amen.
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.