Think Before You Link

f you are on social media or watch FOX news you have heard about the social media campaign against Starbucks’ red holiday cup. A well-known video blogger encouraged a boycott of Starbucks for removing holiday images from their ­holiday cups because he interpreted them as anti-Christian. Admittedly, there were more posts on social media page against the blogger than Starbucks. Hopefully, his fifteen minutes of fame has subsided.

There are some lessons to be learned from all of this about social media, boycotts, and promoting religious activists’ ­issues. Consider a few lessons about our thinking from this latest social media event.

Think about whether it is important. The church in Corinth had numerous divisions. One of them focused on the issue of eating meat—specifically eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Some had abstained from all meat to avoid eating the meat from the temples that was sold for profit in the marketplace. Paul’s ­instructions on this important subject are interesting: “eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any ­question… eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience” (1 Corinthians 10:25, 28). Paul advocates a form of ignorance. Why? Because it wasn’t a sin. Before you promote some agenda, ask ­whether it is an agenda that is worthy promoting.

Think about who you are about to align yourself with. The individual behind the anti-Starbucks campaign is a religious blogger who has pulled several similar stunts. He is a self-promoter who has had success ­financially because of it (he has certainly fed his own appetite through these issues, see Romans 16:17–18). But more important is the fact that this individual believes in the false doctrines by denying the Godhead, believing in the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit (such as tongues), and Premillennialism. Supporting his agenda and ­promoting him is promoting his other false doctrines. Is it possible your participation is giving approval to someone ­practicing evil (Romans 1:32)?

Think about the souls of the lost. Perhaps the best question that should be asked is this: how many souls were saved by the anti-Starbucks campaign? Answer? None. Absolutely zero. In fact, it could be argued that the social media campaign of a few and the response to it by many has harmed evangelism to some degree. If the goal is to teach the Gospel and save a culture, then the solution is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our mission isn’t to protect some man-made holiday. Our mission is to save souls and create disciples (Matthew 28:18–20). If you truly want to have a positive impact on society, share the Good News about Jesus Christ.

It’s easy to get caught up in the nonsense of social media (I’ve done it myself!). The lesson that needs to be learned is simple: Think before you link! The next time you are tempted to join in on a campaign, consider the principles above.