This week social media has been abuzz with the story of the OceanGate submersible Titan. Their mission was to investigate the wreckage of the Titanic on the ocean floor. The sub lost contact with the surface less than two hours into its journey. And a rescue mission has been the focus of my newsfeed for days.  

Today, we learned that all aboard were likely killed instantly when the sub imploded. Five lives were lost. It’s a tragedy. But you can read all the details of the sub’s manufacturing, the company, the CEO Stockton Rush and his personal ideas about his company and submarine elsewhere. 

We want to respond to the lack of humanity represented by many online. People mocked the explorers. They made jokes about their situation while their families were frantically praying for rescue. The adventurers were turned into laughingstocks by many, including some professing believers. 

As Scott Klusendorf commented, these people would be wise to consider Luke 13:1-5. We all need to repent because we will all perish someday.  

Mama Bears, social media is harsh. It reminds me of a couple lines from an old song, Welcome to the Jungle by Guns-N-Roses: 

“Welcome to the jungle, it gets worse here every day, 

You learn to live like an animal in the jungle where we play”  

People forget how to be human online far too often. And Christians, we need to be the salt and light of the earth wherever we are. Especially online. 

Here are a couple of tips that are important for Christians to remember and to teach your children in this increasingly online world.  

1. Always practice empathy. 

When posting or commenting, put yourself in their shoes first. If their family came across your post, would your words be a balm to their wounds pointing to Christ or add to their heartbreak? 

As someone who has lost a spouse in a tragic, unexpected way, you cannot underestimate the power of kindness and gentleness in the days following such a tragedy. Social media kept my mind occupied as my heart grappled with my new reality. What people wrote to me mattered A LOT. I treasured every kind word. Unkind words felt especially sharp. 

And if you can’t find it in your heart to be gracious, remember what mama always said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” We’ve really forgotten this is an option. You don’t always have to be the first with the sharpest wit. There will be no crowns in heaven for best meme. There will be no crowns in heaven for best meme. Click To Tweet

2. Glorify God in all things. 

We are to live our lives in such a way that God is glorified through everything we do. Somehow, it seems as though we’ve created a separate little box for our online activity, as if it doesn’t really count. 

This mindset has crept into so many areas. Our online selves are separate from our physical selves, so we feel disconnected from our online behaviors. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  

 In Matthew 5, Jesus tells us our anger is akin to murder and lust to adultery. Our actions are an overflow of our thoughts so accordingly, what we think matters. At least it does to Jesus. We are held just as accountable if we think about it as if we had actually done it.

Teaching our children to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) is part of helping them navigate the virtual world as well as the physical one.

3. Be the salt and light. 

We are to be the light that draws people to Christ. Being a light (in what is often a cesspool of despair) is more important than ever.  

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[b] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. 

We have an opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ, the power of prayer, and a reason for the hope that is in us when events like this sub tragedy occur. Don’t waste that witness. You never know who’s heart you may reach with the gospel or whom you might embitter towards believers.  

4. If you get it wrong, repent as publicly as you posted.  

We all get it wrong on social media at times. I’m guilty! I see a post from what I believe is a credible source and don’t do my due diligence in checking its accuracy and realize later I messed up.  

Even in our failures, we can be a witness of what it looks like to take responsibility for our actions and to be transparent about our failures and sins.  

We are guaranteed to face tragedy in our lives, sorrow at the very least. It’s part of being human. But our worldview as believers is the only way that truly makes sense of what we face and gives hope to the hurting.  

We should strive to be part of how God uses all things for good in how we respond to tragedy as we witness to others. Click To Tweet  


Focus on living for Christ online as well as in person. Consider your witness because you never know who is trolling your posts to see what this Jesus guy is all about. Make sure they walk away hearing truth. 

Questions to ask yourself before clicking post: 

1. If someone read my post, would they see Christ in me?  

2. If I comment here, does my comment edify or uplift?

3. Does my comment encourage (i.e. inspire others towards a biblical, loving courage)? 

4. Am I restoring someone in gentleness?  

5. Could or should this be said in private?  

6. Are there others who need to see this comment?

7. Has God called me to say this? 

8. Did I pray about the situation and about my role in sharing this before posting?  

Have you ever heard the saying, “You are the only Bible some people will ever read”? It’s powerful to remember when it comes to our online behavior, especially in response to tragedy. 

 By Jennifer DeFrates


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