What Should Christians Keep in Mind
When Using Facebook?
"Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer."
It has been on my heart for some time, to discuss the responsibilities of a Christian in the age of social media. Today I am going to focus on Facebook, but please note these spiritual principles extend well beyond this singular platform. I have chosen Psalm 19 as our text passage to consider, because it so well encapsulates, just what God expects from you. Let's start with the key thought, which is found at the end of the passage; "the words of our mouths" and "the meditation of our hearts" should be at least acceptable unto the Lord. This means what you are taking in, so as to consider it in your heart; and what you are putting out, should be at the least, acceptable unto God. In truth though, we know the intention is not merely that God shouldn't be offended, by our thoughts and words; but instead pleased by them. How much of what we look at, or post, can we honestly say is pleasing unto the Lord?
"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise."
If we're honest, the answer is not much, it would be nearly impossible to actively use Facebook; and say that everything posted, or read pleased God. The thought of this passage is, that where there is much speaking, there will be no lack of sin. This is explained in the book of James, where we are told, that "the tongue is a fire": an untamable beast, that hurts those afflicted by it. It is explained that the mark of true maturity, is the ability to control one's tongue. The danger of social media, is that it allows us a platform, to spew out all of our thoughts. Yet it removes the difficulty, of saying these things to someone in person. It allows us greater ability to say whatever comes to mind, while removing the consequences of doing so. Every time you open it, you're greeted with the question: "What's on your mind?", provoked by the freedom of not seeing people's reactions, and comforted in the knowledge you can always block those who disagree.
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Believers are told, we will give an account of every idle word we speak. We are warned that the power of death, and life, abides in the tongue. Therefore we are warned to make sure everything we say verbally, written, or posted is edifying to the hearer. We're told it is a grief to the Holy Spirit, when we misuse our words. We're then given a list of things to remove from our speech. Let me challenge you today, go back though the last twenty things you posted, or shared on Facebook. Then ask yourself these questions: is it edifying: does it build up the reader?; does it include evil speaking?; or did I post this bitterly, with wrath, in anger, to be clamorous, or out of malice? Then ask yourself once again, does your Facebook, and what you communicate there please your Lord?
"Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."
Facebook is a great open door to everyone who uses it, a platform from which to share your thoughts, with all who will listen. Walk in wisdom, and don't waste the opportunity, debating things to which there is no profit. Let your speech be gracious, and speak as someone who has been called to be salt and light. Please understand that what you say, proceeds forth out of the heart; and therefore reveals what is in the heart. Everyone can see what you love, how mature you are, how much you seek to honor Christ; by looking at what you communicate. Whether it is what you post, or share; your Facebook reveals your heart. I challenge you to look at what you post, not what you put in your profile; and ask two questions: would someone who doesn't know me, think I am a Christian? and Do these things honor God?