Monday is now Social Media Monday here at CC. This is the first installment in a new ongoing series involving several rotating writers. Through the course of this series we will be examining how we can glorify God in the social media age. Tweet us on Twitter using the hashtag #SMMCC on Mondays as we discuss topics related to social media.
Our Society likes things instant. After all, if it won’t happen right away it’s not worth doing right?
Instant messaging, instant replay, instant oatmeal.
All examples of instant things. Some rather unrelated to anything in this article.
But the Bible encourages us to be slow to speak.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” -James 1:19
And with that in mind, I suggest we consider these points before we post instantaneously on social media:
There is a person behind the avi.
Yes, that anonymous commentor has a soul. The person who tweets profanity has feelings. And that annoying Facebook friend who keeps inviting you to play Candy Crush Saga and pokes, pokes, pokes you is human too.
“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7
We have to remember that behind the digital mask is a human being made in the image of God. We can pretend someone isn’t real if we have never met them, but God sees, knows and loves them.
There is an audience watching.
Social media, in spite of countless people who view it as such, is not a personal diary. It may not be physical, but it has very real impact on other people. Even if you are anonymous, people are affected, sometimes very deeply by what you post.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” -Ephesians 4:29
God wants us to communicate in a way that builds others up. We need to remember that there are consequences for every action, even on the internet. It grieves me to think that our careless words online could be turning someone away from the faith. We don’t know who is privy to our conversations.
There is a tone that is implied.
Unlike verbal interaction, text-based communication gives fewer clues as to the emotion behind a statement. It is harder to tell exactly what is being conveyed unless you go the extra mile to be clear. Misunderstandings are inevitable.
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” -Colossians 4:6
I would encourage everyone to take a deep look at how they interact through text. It is very dangerous to be ambiguous in this type of communication. Always check for any unwanted signals or clues you may be sending. Be cautious and careful.
There is a lesson to be learned.
Too often our main concern on social media is expressing OUR opinions and views, rather than learning from others. We think we have it all figured out. I am so guilty of this one. My arrogance lifts myself up to the level of “teacher” and I seek to impart my “wisdom” on everyone. But what I often end up doing is shoving my thoughts down everyone else’s throats.
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” -Proverbs 12:15
Is there something God wants me to hear that I am too busy drowning out with my own words? Is my desire to be right is overpowering my desire to learn and grow? As children of God we should cherish the wisdom of others, and learn from them. Test what they say by the Word, but consider their advice. After all, we know a lot less than we think we do.
What should Christians think about before posting on social media? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Or tweet us with the hashtag #SMMCC.
Thank you for reading this. If you were blessed, I’d encourage you to share it.
Zach Van Houten is a Christian writer and blogger who lives in Merced, California. He is currently training under his father to be a metal fabricator. He started blogging for Congruent Culture in 2013 before merging with Comments on Christianity. He recently founded a Christian website called Me In Perspective. Contact: Twitter| Website | SoundCloud