Have you ever posted something on social media because you were angry, frustrated, bitter, feeling passive aggressive, or just down-right aggressive? I have. And then I’ve had to go back later and delete my post because I realized that it didn’t come from a good place in my heart. It’s so easy to sit behind the keyboard, type things out that are driven by raw emotion, and then click tweet/post/publish/share etc… Anywhere, anytime, with mobile device in hand, you can fire away, with little or no thought about the weight of your words.
24/7, we are bombarded with controversial issues that are shaping our politics, law, and culture. Everyone wants to weigh-in and make sure their voice is heard. So what do we typically do? We turn to social media because there, we have a large platform to ensure that our opinions are heard by the masses. It’s not uncommon to have hundreds or even thousands of followers, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc… But in the world of #REPOST, our thoughts are no longer limited to our own followers, they have the potential to reach millions around the world, AND they become permanent because we now live in the age of the DIGITAL FOOTPRINT.
Airing out your frustrations on social media is not healthy and it destroys the one thing we have been entrusted with above all other things: relationships. As humans, God designed us to live in community with one another. Because we are all so unique we have many differing opinions-the best way to discuss these differences is in face-to-face conversation…not from behind a screen and keyboard. The more we hide behind our electronic profile, the less relational we become because we no longer see people as real-live human beings with feelings. Instead, we see only their digital profile. By removing the human element we devalue and diminish the significance of others.
Now, with it being such a tumultuous time right now in our world, and particularly in our own country, you may be thinking to yourself, “As a follower of Jesus, I’ve got something to say…And I need to say it because I’m called to speak the truth!” We are called to speak truth…but in the context of love. Truth without love is like setting a blazing forest fire-your words will burn and destroy people’s lives. The reality is, you may wind up hindering the spreading of the Gospel instead of advancing it. Your best bet is to find the person or persons whom you need to speak truth to, and say what you need to say directly to them; not behind the protected walls of social media. A crucial conversation will have far more effectiveness over a cup of coffee or a face-to-face meeting than through a written assault on social media. Here’s one of the best teachings I’ve ever seen on how to have influence in the midst of crucial conversations.
It’s imperative to remember that we are all going to be held accountable for the words we use. In a previous post I wrote about how much words matter. Check it out when you have time. But for now, my challenge to you is to really think about what you are going to post before you post it. Think about how your words affect others. Think about all that we’ve been entrusted with and how our reckless words can destroy our witness. Think about the responsibility we have to show the love of God to all, and just how negatively our rants affect the lives and hearts of people.
Here are 7 Things To Consider Before You Post:
1. Is it helpful?
2. Does it build up or tear down?
3. Is it kind?
4. Is it necessary?
5. Is there an underlying reason or hidden agenda for what you are about to post? If so, what is it?
6. Would I say this exactly the same way to someone’s face who disagrees with me?
7. Is it loving or unloving?
If you boil it all down to one thing, to me #7 says it all. Is it loving or unloving? If you are a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will produce love in your life and that love will define who you are, what you do, and the words you use. If the things you say/tweet/post/publish/share are not said or done out of pure motivation and Godly love, then it’s time for a heart check.
Here’s a great verse to memorize and use as a filter before posting something to social media: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Think About It.