“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” – John Piper
A Sober Reminder
A smartphone in the hand of a human can often become more like an extra limb than a tool. Technological advancement has seen exponential growth over the last decade and has greatly entranced the masses.
While not inherently wrong, our smartphones have opened us up to a whole new world of innovations and frontiers-yet-to-be-explored. In the words of C.S. Lewis’ fictional character Ransom, “A man who has been to another world does not come back unchanged.”
However, the pinnacle of current revolutionary technology is most clearly seen in the extensive world of social media.
Perhaps no other technological innovation has so paradoxically united us yet at the same time trivialized human relationships. This mixture of superficial connectedness, a hyper-inflated sense of personal influence, along with a desire to be real and known is the new reality introduced by social media. It is in light of this that I pleadingly write to be very careful, follower of Christ, what you post.
Be Careful What You Post On Social Media
In these divisive times, we would be wise to pick our battles ever so carefully. The inner compass that governs our reasoning is crooked and carries with it a great propensity toward extremes and slippery slopes (see Jer. 17:9, Mark 7:21, Romans 3:9-19).
We’re in a fight for souls, in a world where our time in the fight is limited and the timeclock is withheld from us; we would do well to make every punch count…every battle a good one and one worth fighting.
Consider what Proverbs 29:11 has to say (although addressing women, it’s universally applicable), “A fool vents all her feelings. A wise woman holds them back.”Thoroughly evaluate your feelings through a Biblical “lens” (Biblical Worldview), looking for truth and not just another emotionally-charged impulse to post. Click To Tweet
Our Words Soon-To-Be-Judged
Late evangelist, pastor, and missionary Leonard Ravenhill once said, “We speak thousands of words every day and all these words are accumulated: the good words, the bad words, the criticized words… we’re so flippant with our words; we’re so easy with our criticism. We stab and we injure and we hurt, and God is going to try all my words before a thousand-million people. Every word you say is going to be played back someday. The Word of God says man shall give an account for every word that he has spoken.” …or posted, or commentated, or shared and so on.
We will have to give an account, a reason, an explanation for every word we produce, but this is just the start. What words might God hate? Definitely, words which are evil and/or spoken in sin, but more than that. Listen to what Jesus explains to the Pharisees in Matthew 12:33-37:
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
“Just Saying/Just Being Authentic”
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, once said, “By giving people the power to share, we’re making the world more transparent.”
But is this necessarily a good thing?
If we have to give an account for every careless word we’ve spoken, posted, or commented–even if under the cover of “Just saying/just being authentic/just being transparent”–then suddenly being careless and/or overly transparent with our words doesn’t seem so appealing.
We need to ask ourselves- “What is my reason for posting this?”The goal is to grow from being careless to being careful, applying wisdom and discernment to our digital actions. Click To Tweet
Timothy Paul Jones said that “None of us need to say all that we think or are thinking. We live in a world that says posting and sharing about everything you’re thinking is called ‘authentic.’ But this says [Matthew 12:36-37], that we will be held accountable and judged for every ‘workless’ [careless] word we share/speak- every word that does not work for good.”
Jonathan Leeman, a writer and editor at 9Marks, wrote that social media “put a printing press into everyone’s hands.” Never before has communication and publication been so readily and easily available–praise God! However, this has also allowed for the absence of accountability in our daily digital communications.
Leeman also said that “Like every other medium of communication and publishing, social media offers accountability. Say something stupid or wrong, and you will be hounded by the mob. You might even be ‘canceled.’ But what’s unique is that social media requires no accountability before the ‘Post’ button is hit. There is no editorial oversight. Every man is his own editor and editorial board.”
For the past few months, I’ve lived by and put in place certain rules to serve as guidelines to help me navigate the ever-volatile world of digital media. Would this be unpleasing to the Lord? Would this hinder or advance the Kingdom of God? Is this to bring me glory or God glory? Am I being too transparent or sharing too much? Or if it is humor–will this joke or meme hinder or hurt my Christian testimony? These were some of the questions I’ve asked myself before posting or sharing on any platform.
However, in a world full of constantly-evolving technology and with a constant influx of new memes, soundbytes, platforms, posts, etc., it seems necessary for me (and maybe you?) to be even more diligent in abiding by- and possibly even adding to- these guidelines.
Love Must Precede Our Posts
If I post a helpful thought but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I post a prophetic message full of warning to my brothers, and have great knowledge and understanding but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all that I have and then post about it, I have love, but it is probably love of self (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, paraphrased).
On this issue we must be aware of two things:
- Intentional love must precede our posts.
- It is difficult to express love through a tone-less and expression-less post and/or message (so be aware of that).
These admonitions don’t render social media and modern communication as useless and/or unbiblical, but they do beckon us to think before you act and love when you act.
“Love is patient and kind; love does no envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Therefore, be careful, follower of Christ, what you post on social media.