Snooze the bad reviews

Philippians 1:12-18
I’m a part of several Facebook groups that focus on social media.

Some deal only with church communications. Others are for those in the business or non-profit worlds. Even though the people represent different fields of work, they all share many of the same goals. In some way, they want to amplify their organization’s online presence and influence. Social media offers such great potential.

The people in the groups bounce ideas off each other. They share new material and ask for feedback and critique. Sometimes, some of them just need to vent–it can be a frustrating job. From time to time, there’s a question that pops up. It’s usually from someone newer to the group. From what I can piece together, most people who ask this question are also new to their social media role.

“Do I delete this negative comment from our page?”

They want to know what to do with bad reviews and comments people leave on their social media sites. You see, what’s good about social media is that it’s for all to see. What’s bad about social media is that it’s for all to see. Online sticks and stones can absolutely hurt a company or a church’s reach.

There isn’t one answer to the question. What you do with such reviews and criticisms depends on who it was from. Was it someone from your community or an internet troll? What is the nature of their complaint? Was it something petty or serious?

Most people want to follow their first inclination. That is to delete any bad reviews or comments people leave on their sites. I could be wrong, but it feels like the church groups really want to avoid all criticism or judgments.

Now, you may not dabble with the intricacies of social media management. But here’s why this is worth your consideration.

Apostle Paul had to deal with this in his own ancient Rome way. There were, of course, no ugly online reviews. Instead, Paul’s critics bound him in jail. As if that wasn’t enough, others sought to increase his suffering in prison (Philippians 1:17).

Paul addresses their efforts in his letters. His approach differs based on the context of his writing. It makes me wonder what kind of social media account he would run. When it’s important to justify himself he will. When he needs to call out someone else he will.

Even then, he always brings the attention back to Jesus.

In Philippians 1, Paul took no real offense at those who preached Christ out of selfish ambition. Neither did he have harsh words for those who sought to make his life more difficult. “What does it matter,” he asked. “Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice.”

That kind of attitude stems from several factors. You need the peace of God, for sure. You need a focused intent on the mission God gave you, too. The answer to criticism is faithful, honest self-evaluation. Make sure your witness isn’t fueling hostility and antagonism. Keep in mind that people criticized Mother Teresa and Mr. Rogers. They killed Jesus, too. Someone will have some negative comment about you or your church. 

Don’t let that steer you from the loving mission God entrusted to you.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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