Actually, it was a shocking, offensive tweet that I received from a fellow Calvinist Anon (but someone I don’t follow and with whom I’ve had no contact) that startled me. This action made me consider whether or not our faith is reflected in our behavior, or is it even relevant, on Twitter—even when we’re anonymous.
“People are unique in the inner life of the mind—what they are in their thought world determines how they act. This is true of their value systems and it is true of their creativity. It is true of their corporate actions, such as political decisions, and it is true of their personal lives.”
Simply, if you’re caring or callous, compassionate or bitter, jesting or jeering—your inner personality traits will define who you are. And these will play out in your daily decisions and interactions—in your real or virtual life.
If you pose the question “Why did you go Anon?” to many Christians on Twitter, you pretty much get the same answers:
Burnt at church.
Needed a place to vent.
It’s a great place to express your opinions without fear of consequences.
The church was choking me, Twitter provided an outlet for my frustrations.
I’m in a bad marriage.
Wanting to speak against hypocrites in the church.
To counter the counterfeit doctrines out there.
I’m searching for companionship.
I’m looking for a one-night stand.
I threw the last one in there—just to see if you were still reading. But I’m sure it rang true with someone who read it!
Thanks to the Internet, more light shines on how we, as Christians, treat each other. Francis Schaeffer challenges us to reexamine our thought life, because our actions (good and bad) flow from our thoughts. Jesus said something similar in Matthew 15:19. Our thoughts are easily reflected in the way we honor each other in daily life. They also show up in the way we interact with others on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets.
How should we then live as @ChristianTwitterAnons?
The majority of us joke, tease, and enjoy the interaction with each other. But there are those Anons who call themselves Christians, but their tweets are often laced with arrogance, mockery, or meanness. They can be rude, snarky, or plain old-fashioned nasty. Often, their behavior could be cited as spiritual harassment or abuse. Agreed, we’re living anonymous lives, but should that change who we are spiritually, morally, and ethically? Does this countermand the gifts of the Spirit?
The more virtual lies and snide remarks that type or text briskly off of our fingertips, or the arrogance and condescension with which we live our Anon lives, the easier it becomes to repeat those untruths and destructive behavior patterns in our real lives. They harden our hearts and can harm those whom we love. This doesn’t mean stopping the repartee, pointing out false doctrine, or challenging wrong thinking. It just means being honest and direct—dealing with each other in truth and kindness, even when we’re in full-speed ahead raillery mode.
We’re Christians off Twitter and on. We’re believers, 24/7.
This is not about being the Judgmental Squad or the Forgive-No-One-For-Making-Mistakes Anon Inquisition, but more a question about boundaries and behavior. For Twitter Anon Christian leaders and Christians who chronically provoke, mock, flirt, sneer, stalk, or slander, is this okay since we’re anonymous? Is it another way of “protecting my identity?”
Or is it an accurate reflection of a heart condition that is in desperate need of God’s mercy, grace, and redeeming power?