In the era of social media it seems as though a great many church people have failed to see if the ethics found in scripture apply to what they post, comment and like on social media. Here is a passage I think we should consider with our online speech. Perhaps if I just updated and focused the language a little bit maybe it would get some traction.
Jas 3:5-10 NET. So our Facebook account is a small part of our persona, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. (6) Our social media presence is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. (7) For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind. (8) But no human being can tame social media; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (9) With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse people made in God’s image. (10) From the same account come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.
Of course James wasn’t writing about facebook, he used the metaphor of the tongue for speech. Nor would he necessarily call for people to cut themselves away from social media anymore than he was calling for people to cut off their own tounge.
Do you praise God with your mouth but curse and insult people made in God’s image?
I hold to certain political positions that differ from the conservative view that is predominate in evangelical church communities. So often when little clusters of Christians get together someone starts spouting off about some issue and assumes we are all on the same page. Sadly, often I’m not and it is usually because I have done a great deal of research and spent some time considering the issue and can usually articulate two or more perspectives. Sometimes I’m tempted to enter in to the fray, but when the nature of the discussion is no better than “so and so is an idiot” I don’t really see an opening there.
Recently I saw a little graphic that implied that everyone that favoured a policy that I favour is a moron.
I know it isn’t aimed directly at me, but I can tell you it hurts just a little and it erodes relationship.
The word of the year in 2016 is post-truth. There are malevolent social and political forces that care nothing for the truth and will post anything to further their agenda. Too often Christian’s like and share graphics and memes that are full of distortions, manipulations and lies. Using lies, manipulations and distortions to further a social or political end, even if it seems to further a biblical value, is to participate in darkness.
There is a lot in scripture on this topic. Before posting or sharing consider the following:
Check yourself, are you acting out of anger or your own agenda? Have you truly listened?
Jas 1:19-21 NET. “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. (20) For human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. (21) So put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the message implanted within you, which is able to save your souls.”
Do you actually know anything about what you are talking about? Have you researched more than one side to the issue? Have you considered the validity and integrity of your sources?
Pro 18:13 NLT “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.”
Is what you are going to communicate consistent with the life and teachings of Jesus?
Col 3:17 GNB “Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father.”
Are you speaking from a place of maturity? Are you getting carried away by trickery and deceit? Are you speaking in a spirit of love?
Eph 4:12-15 NET. to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, (13) until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God — a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ’s full stature. (14) So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. (15) But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head.