It truly breaks my heart when I see a famous or well-known Christian preacher, pastor, or church leader post a nasty or judgmental twitter or Facebook comment. It is equally heartbreaking to see a believer on social media say things that seem to have zero purpose other than to stir up drama or trash the church or part of the Body of Christ.
I have to ask, are they praying to God for wisdom and guidance before hitting the “publish,” “share,” or “retweet” button?
The same as anyone else, I know how it is to be passionate about something and when I speak too quickly, I can be hurtful. So before I post on my blog or on any social media, I spend time praying and making sure I have asked myself these 5 questions:
Do I have all of the facts or am I making assumptions?
Before I start talking about a situation I check to make sure I have all the facts. The best thing to do if I don’t know what the truth is, is to say nothing. I also have to ask myself if it’s gossip or trash talking. The world is full of back-stabbing and name calling. The Body of Christ needs to be different. As a Christian, I am called to be better than that.
Have I asked Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and attitude?
What are the motives and attitude behind what I am about to post? Is this really something that I should be publicly talking about or should I cry out to God about this first? I know that if I spend more time in prayer and asking for Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts, there will be a dramatic shift in how and what I post.
Is what I am saying loving but lacking truth? Is what I am saying truthful but lacking love? Both can be equally damaging.
On a daily basis, I see people posting all kinds of sayings, quotes, and memes about what Jesus supposedly said, what the Bible supposedly says about a topic, or what a celebrity (or famous Christian) says about God. I need to open my Bible and make sure what I am about to “share” or “retweet” with all of the world is accurate and truthful so I don’t become my own stumbling bock in my ability to witness to the culture around me.
Likewise, I need to speak the truth in love void of pride, arrogance, and anger. I can speak the truth until I’m blue in the face, but without love I am accomplishing nothing. Read 1 Corinthians 13.
Is what I am about to publish going to hurt or help my credibility to witness for God in the future?
I have a trusted writer friend that I can contact, who will give me straight up and honest feedback before I comment or publish anything on my blog. If I have even the slightest thought that I shouldn’t send or comment on something, I don’t. Period. I would rather stay silent right now, while I’m collecting my thoughts and praying about a careful way to approach a subject, than to push people away from God.
Does what I am posting need to be in my personal journal instead of being made public?
Like it or not, what we say and how we act online is an extension of who we are, especially for those who will probably never meet us in person. As a follower of Christ, we have a duty to make sure what we’re posting online is something we would proudly post on the screen during announcements at a church service for everyone to read. This is basically what social media is: an announcement screen for over 7 billion people to see.
Church, we are destroying our witness by being careless and thoughtless with our words online. The internet and all of social media should be viewed as a mission field and a platform that God has given us to proclaim the Gospel and share our testimonies.
I have read several blogs recently written by some pretty well-known Christians. It was disturbing to read 2,000 word rants that were called “sermons,” and name calling that was labeled as “speaking the truth,” when it wasn’t truth or love.
I have also seen on twitter or Facebook where believers post a saying that is not found in the Bible but posted it as if is was. I’ve seen others use a Scripture verse (out of context) to passive aggressively zing someone they disagree with.
9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. ~1 John 2:9-10
If we have a conflict with someone we should follow the instructions in Matthew 18. Give them the respect of contacting them directly. Wouldn’t we want and expect the same?
Also, we need to make sure we are seeking God for the right timing in what we are posting. Our words may be truthful but not appropriate at that moment.
When God is leading us to write about something, we can address an issue without attacking the person or reverting to name calling.
Are we projecting Jesus with the platforms He has given us?
Are we using social media and the internet for opportunities to share our testimonies of what God has done in our life?
The internet is already full of incorrect nonsense, sarcastic hate, and emotional dysfunction. Are we being the light of the world in the midst of this?