In our prior lesson, we encouraged Christians who feel compelled to post about politics to do so infrequently and circumspectly on social media. And when you do post on a political issue or share a link or a meme, here are some great questions from Scott Slayton to ponder first.
1. Do I have the correct facts?
Proverbs 18:2 reads - "A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart." Although Solomon lived long before social media, he knew the human heart, and it hasn't changed over the past three millennia. If you want to be wise, spend more time reading and studying a matter in an effort to understand all sides instead of merely blasting out an uninformed opinion. Proverbs 18:17 is also relevant here - "The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him." Don't believe the first thing you read or hear, even if it agrees with your views. Investigate and seek deeper understanding before pursuing dialogue. Many matters are often much more complicated than they initially appear. It is bad enough to be ignorant about a matter but to be ignorant of your ignorance and act like you have a PhD on the subject is even worse!
2. Does this need to be said?
Ephesians 4:29 instructs - "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." Certainly we ought not to use filthy language or vile speech, but that is only one half of the equation here. Our speech--whether in person or via a Facebook post--ought to be gracious. Is what you have to say going to bring grace to those who hear it? Will they increase in understanding and gain a greater insight into the Bible's perspective on the issue? Will your words point them to Christ? Or, is what you are going to say be mere venting? Are you going to bring light, or are you going to bring heat only? If something is not accurate or true it certainly shouldn't be shared, but there are some things that are true that would be better off left unsaid since they don't glorify the cause of Christ.
3. Am I saying this in a way that represents Christ well?
Linked to the prior point, it is fair to say that people who have experienced grace should speak in a way that exhibits grace. Too many of us post the first thing that comes to our minds about an issue, we don't read it to see how it sounds, and the result is that we end up bringing shame upon Christ and his church through our hasty speech. Venting opinions that are not thought out and that insult others is a sign of tremendous foolishness. Such behavior demonstrates a lack of love for our neighbors and does not bring honor to Jesus.
Before you post something political, read it at least a couple times and really pause to ponder: Is it kind? Is it accurate? Is it designed for the good of others? Will it negatively impact how other people think of Jesus? If you have doubts, share it privately with a trusted friend who isn't afraid to tell you "no." If your friends always validate your views and never challenge you in a healthy way, you're only hearing yourself through an echo chamber which can be problematic. On a closely related side note, posting rebukes pertaining to denominational doctrines, personalities, or issues publicly is very dangerous. This isn't to say that there isn't a place to respectfully and rationally discuss such, but posting such for the world to see on our social media feeds is foolish. Christ wants believers to be one, and He wants the world to see unity and believe in Him. These sorts of religious matters are better discussed in groups or the comment sections of blogs perhaps, but do not drag them out into the public eye and inadvertently bring dishonor to the cause of Christ. The world does enough of that without our assistance.
We will conclude this series in our next lesson.