Would you agree with me that things have gotten rather out of control on social media within our culture? Just to make sure you aren’t a part of that frenzy, here are some questions to ask yourself before making that next Facebook post. You may even want to print out this list of questions and tape it to the side of your computer or on your desk as a reminder! As followers of Christ, these are extremely important points to ponder.
1) Is this edifying?
Before hitting the “post” button, ask yourself if the words you are getting ready to share will build people up or tear them down. God is clear that He wants us to use our words to help others and not hurt them.
Here are a couple verses to consider:
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
2) Is this true?
It has bothered me over the recent months to see so many posts from non-Christians that are clearly deceptive. But do you know what has bothered me even more than that? It bothers me even more when CHRISTIANS re-post deceptive articles about “the other side.” Much of this comes from simply re-posting spurious articles without checking the facts. Christians look ridiculous and even evil when they post articles that are false. Don’t be a false witness through social media. Do your homework and check the facts before re-posting an article.
Here are some verses to consider:
You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.
Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
3) Does this represent Jesus well?
Jesus was kind, gentle, and forgiving. But much of what I see Christians communicating on social media seems to be the exact opposite of that. Some abrasive Christians are quick to mention that Jesus expressed His anger with sinners in His culture. But I would remind you that He mostly reserved His anger for the religious hypocrites and not for those who were non-believers. Instead, He shared a message of hope and forgiveness to those who were unbelievers.
Here is an important verse to consider:
And whatever you do in word or deed, do you all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
4) Is this going to motivate or alienate?
Before hitting the “post” button, ask yourself if this comment is going to help people to come around to your side of the issue or if it is going to push them in the opposite direction. Set your focus on winning souls, not winning arguments. Spend more time listening than speaking, and think through how someone who disagrees with you will receive the information you are getting ready to post. How would you receive it if the shoe were on the other foot? What would you think if someone on the opposite side of the issue posted a similar article or comment? Seek to motivate, not alienate.
Here are some passages of Scripture to consider:
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
A fool utters all his mind, but a wise man holds back.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
5) Will this inflict pain?
Many people post mindless comments and articles on Facebook without even considering how their words might actually inflict pain on others. Choose your words carefully, and avoid using them as weapons that can hurt others. Exercise your empathy muscle and think through how this will affect others who could be hurt by the post. Perhaps your words are truthful, but consider the tone and how you are saying it. Be careful to use your words to bring healing and not to inflict further wounds.
Here are some verses to ponder:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue…
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness and it breaks the spirit.
Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
In closing, I would just like to remind you that your words matter. Be careful. Use them wisely.
If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridal his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.