February 22, 2017 - By Pastor Paul Davis: Over the last decade or so, social media has exploded into literally every part of our lives. It connects us with friends we haven’t seen in years. It keeps us informed about tough situations that loved ones are struggling with. It helps us celebrate the happy times too. But one thing I’m noticing about all of this media socializing is that many people think that their Facebook page or Twitter accounts are good places to share every single thought they have with the rest of the world. Sometimes this is harmless. “Pizza tonight.” “About to go see Star Wars.” “So excited to attend Paul Davis’ Genesis Equip Class!” Even though other people may not care about these things, they aren’t really hurting anyone.
But, somehow, in the midst of all of this communicating, social media outlets have tricked many of us into removing the filters that screen out the sinful, harmful, or ridiculous thoughts that we have. So, instead of stopping just before they come out of our mouths, they are plastered all over the world’s biggest billboard of ideas: the internet. We say things on Facebook that we later regret. We tweet things on Twitter that we wish were never said. We express our opinions whether we know anything about the topic or not. And my question for all of us in this mess of MassComm is, “Is God pleased with this way of communicating?” I’m not wondering if social media outlets themselves are godly or not, but only if we are using them in a godly way.
And thankfully, God is not silent on this issue of communicating, and a bunch of good, challenging passages are to be found in the book of Proverbs. Let me give you some examples of what I mean:
Do you see the trend? Sin inevitably comes with many words. Even a fool looks wise when he keeps his mouth shut. A fool lets his thoughts just spew out of him, but a wise man is restrained in what he chooses to say.
So, what are your habits of communicating? Do you post everything that comes to mind? Do you express your opinion when you’re not even close to knowing what you’re talking about? (Come on… we all do it.) I think these proverbs are clearly telling us that God wants wise, restrained, thoughtful communication. It doesn’t matter if it’s face-to-face or through a screen, on a piece of paper or through a blog-post. Jesus-followers have been called to speak in a way that is godly and wise. So, how can we get there?
Just a couple of thoughts.
First, just don’t post everything you think. Not all of our thoughts are good ones, and not all of our opinions are valid. Sometimes we think things and feel things that are sinful, coming from our own hearts or from the tempting of Satan. Posting when you’re angry or confused or uninformed is not a good idea. Instead, talk through your thoughts with a real human being who loves you and can respond to you in an actual conversation. If you’re working through an idea or you’re not sure what to think, adding to and taking from the confusion that’s on the internet is probably not the wisest course of action.
Second, put some of these proverbs around your work space. It could be physical sticky notes, or digital reminders or banners, but make these wise, godly sayings a part of your environment when you’re communicating on social media. Let them help you communicate in a way that honors Christ and makes you look wise in the process!
Social media outlets are a powerful tool. They can be used to harm or to help, to tear down or to build up. But God has given us some principles of wise communication that can help us redeem our digital environments for the Kingdom of Christ and to use them for his purposes.