• Social Media 2: Our Words

    This is part 2 of a 3 part series on social media. To access the first blog, click here

    I don’t think social media is bad. I love it and use it almost everyday. I enjoy sharing spiritual insight or media of my kids or attempting to make joke. Social media is also a great source of encouragement for me. I get to see the humanity of spiritual giants who I will most likely never meet but who God has used to grow me in significant ways. I would never suggest that all social media is bad and that it shouldn’t be used. I would, however, emphasize caution for Christians to use social media with wisdom and grace.

    When I scroll through Facebook, it seems like everyone has an opinion and they are eager to let it fly. And because we are more connected than ever before, that opinion has the potential to do much harm. We easily forget the power of our words and the high calling of what it means to be a follower of Christ.

    Listen to what the Bible says about our words:

    • Psalm 19:14 - Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
    • Proverbs 15:1- A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
    • Proverbs 16:24 - Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
    • Proverbs 18:21 - Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
    • Proverbs 29:20 - Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
    • Matthew 12:36 - I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,
    • Luke 6:45 - The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
    • Ephesians 4:29 - 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.
    • Colossians 3:8 - But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
    • James 1:26 - If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.
    • James 3:1-12 - The tongue has untold potential to bless or curse…

    This is only a small part of what the Bible teaches on the tongue, but it is enough for us to see that God takes this subject seriously. Many times social media makes public what should be a private conversation over coffee. Sometimes, what we say we have not filtered through the Word of God. Often, we fail to exercise caution and it creates unnecessary conflict and offense.

    I encourage you to create a biblical filter that helps you think through what you are going to post. This will help you exercise more wisdom in your social media usage. The following is a good biblical filter you could adopt.

    1. Is it true?
    I shouldn’t have to include this, but I am. Lying and slander should be unheard of among Christians because it is so far from the character of God. Are you posting things that aren’t accurate? Are you posting things that are partial truths? Remember, our words reveal our heart. False words paint a dark cloud over what should be a bright, God-honoring life, showing us the reality of who we are living for.

    2. Is it wise?
    We don’t have to post something just because we have an opinion or because we can (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). Are you posting something that you know is going to cause unnecessary problems? Are you saying something that is true, but needs to be said in a different context? Are you letting an opinion fly that should be first filtered by the Word of God?

    3. Does it build up or tear down?
    It is possible to say something that is true, but to say it in such a way that it causes harm. Is what you are posting true, but unhelpful? Are you posting something that could possibly cause an unnecessary offense? Are your words being used to benefit or to beat down?

    Maybe the problem is not what you have posted, but what a friend or family member has posted. What do you do if you are offended by what is said? Three quick things: 1) its never helpful to respond to serious matters of offense in text, email, social media or any other venue where people can’t easily discern your heart and your tone. 2) Being a Christian means you are called to handle conflict biblically. We constantly refer to Watermark Church’s Conflict Resolution Field Guide to help guide us in conflict.1 3) If possible, handle conflict quickly. Unresolved conflict that lingers is fertile ground for issues like bitterness and resentment to take root and cause much spiritual harm.

    Is there another question you add to build a healthy, biblical filter for what we post on social media?

    Next week we are going to discuss the motivations behind how we use social media and what we say on social media.

    Click here for part three of this series.

    1. Click here to access Watermark Church's Conflict Resolution Field Guide.