My two friends Jeff Martin and Vinnie Lupoli coined the Urban Dictionary word, “Cybertoothing.” The meaning of this word consists of, “the act of using social media to air grievances.” Most likely, if you have opened a news feed you have noticed this phenomenon.

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Recently, an article in the Huffington Post, 7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook, circulated on social media. Google “bad habits” on social media and scores of article will abound with cringe laden tweets and posts of others. People can use social media to brag, complain, sulk, and disclosures of more than anyone wants to know.

Exposing these practices on the surface only points to a deeper problem. Behind every written update and audience interpretation reveals a lost sense of authentic community. Part of the issue comes from an incomplete view of what is happening.

What if…

The bragging status indicated a highly insecure person looking for recognition and the upset reader indicates a significant struggle with jealousy?

The update that sounds like, “Is anyone free tonight?” revealed a lonely person searching for authentic community?

Behind the complaining person was someone who cannot frame their life in gratitude, but has felt beaten down by the challenges?

The calculated Instagram photos portrayed the life a person wish they had rather than the one God has given them?

The sharing of good or great news on social media was really about celebrating?

Every cynical follower of social media who pointed out the truth, has lost their sense of joy?

We live in a society which loves to share, compare, and critique. Part of experiencing the Gospel means to look beyond the surface level and to see behind these behaviors is an issue of the heart. As followers of Christ we have the opportunity to model authentic community and attempt to see social media through the eyes of Christ. All of us long to look like Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

May God enlarge our hearts with grace and compassion for each other. May we model a redeemed practice of social media.