WATCH YOUR PORTRAYAL

Guilty pleasure: I watch the Bachelorette. I love it. Is it terrible TV sometimes? Yes. But is it also really good and juicy TV sometimes? You bet. The past season of the Bachelor and the current season of the Bachelorette have really got me thinking about the way Christians are portrayed and portray themselves in the media. If I never met a Christian my whole life but watched social media or reality TV, I would quickly think one of two things: 1) all Christians are crazy or 2) all Christians are hypocrites. While not all of us have our own reality TV show, we all have social media. If Luke P (*Bachelorette reference*) did anything right… he taught us we definitely need to be watching ourselves.

If I did some research on negative Facebook or Instagram comments, I bet we would quickly see that the majority of them are done by Christians… which is insane. The number of comments I have seen on Hannah B’s (the current Bachelorette) Instagram account throwing shame and hate her way for her behavior is coming from people quoting Scripture. Hannah B is a Christian and often posts scriptures on her accounts and quotes them throughout the show. Her annoying counterpart, Luke P is a Christian and does the same thing. Hannah and Luke have both done things on the show that I do not agree with and have helped to contribute to the negative way Christians are seen. Does this make them bad people? No. I don’t know who they really and therefore I can’t judge their character. Their media portrayal, however, casts them in a bad light.

Hannah has slept with (Multiple? Is Jed confirmed? I don’t know.) men on the show. Luke has used his belief in God to manipulate Hannah on multiple occasions (he somehow made it to the final four). Luke has been edited to be selfish, manipulating, and mega controlling. Both of these people are in the public eye and labeled with “Christian.” Many people have been declaring Hannah a hypocrite and Luke a psycho. This puts Christians in a horrible light. People are throwing stones at both of them for their media portrayal and then turning and looking at us (Christians they actually know) to see what we think about it.

As Christians, we have an intense amount of attention directed our way. Our number one commandment was to “love others.” If Christians don’t act like “Christians,” people are quick to scoff. I have had many people over the years ask me why it matters so much what I share and don’t share on my social media. “Why do you care what others think and assume about you?” And it makes sense. The way I portray myself on my blog and social media is that of someone who is carefree, confident, and honest. But there are some forms of honesty that can become a stumbling block for others.  If you post a picture of yourself enjoying a drink at dinner with your friends (when you’re of LEGAL age), people tend to assume you’re partying. If you show even a hint of you and your significant other *alone* (I hope I don’t need to elaborate on this), people will think you are sleeping together. Funny enough, the people who judge Christians are Christians. But there are plenty of people who would see me post something slightly suggestive and think: Wow, Brie must not be as much of a Christian anymore.

When that happens, people’s minds begin to close and they become increasingly more opposed to the idea of ever getting to know God. Whether you like it or not, when you accepted Jesus into your heart, the whole world turned and looked at you and hasn’t looked away since. Do they say rude and inappropriate things consistently? Are they mean to others? Are they a negative person? Do they “party” on a regular basis? Are they manipulative? Are they a “weird” Christian? Do they make me feel uncomfortable or judged? We can choose our own media portrayals to either bring people closer to the love of God or further from it. We can make people want the love and peace Jesus has given us or never want to step into a church again.

Stop being mean on social media. Stop throwing stones at everyone you see. Stop being a stumbling block to others whose faith may not be as strong as yours is.  We (yes, me included) have to learn how to start watching ourselves and checking our behavior before it can be manipulated in the eyes of someone else through social media. Before you post something, think “would this cause a raised eyebrow even though it’s innocent?” Think about spreading a positive message. Stop leaving hate comments, stop causing arguments on Facebook. Don’t post a Scripture one day and then a rant about how bad your waitress sucked the next. Social media holds so much power and we have to understand the responsibility we have. We are here to spread Jesus’ name, not taint it. We are here to show people who may never know Jesus what His love feels like. We are not here to be weirdos (you know what I mean), we are not here to be hateful, and we are certainly not here to be judgemental. It’s time for us to wipe the Christian slate clean and change our portrayal to the world. I don’t know about you, but I think I’m ready for a new start.

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