Social media companies, such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, are again in the spotlight, particularly following the tragic suicide of teenager Molly Russell which has been linked to her accessing self-harm images on Instagram. Should such companies be allowed to continue to govern themselves or should the Government introduce new legislation seeking to control them?
Whilst I may not be the greatest fan of social media I do appreciate its potential benefits – and YouTube often assists at Family Services. However, the current debate is another illustration of a ‘mind-set’ we can so easily fall into – essentially seeing the law as ‘saviour’. Surely we need more laws? But although the statute book gets ever longer and heavier, there are always new loopholes to be closed, new issues to be covered.
What we are always facing is that ‘the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart’. Legislating the social media companies may deal only with the symptoms – the key issue relates to the hearts and desires of their users. I am reminded of Jesus’ words in Mark 7v20,21: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean’. For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly” – the very things new legislation might be aimed at!
What is God’s remedy to our heart problem? Certainly the law plays a part, but as Galatians 3v24 reminds us its purpose is to lead us to Jesus Christ. The Christian gospel (good news) is all about God’s grace – His free, undeserved love and forgiveness – not about imposing more laws upon us. In fact, as Paul writes to Titus, “the grace of God that brings salvation … teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (2v11,12).
God’s law is good – but His grace is the ultimate remedy.
Peace and Grace
PS: Do also reflect again on the impact of law and grace in Les Misérables!