21st June 2018

Social Media Rules?

“Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest fire it kindles!…But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
James 3:5 & 8 (NKJV) 

From time to time a storm erupts on social media about something people have posted. Often when they are in the public eye for some reason, their past posts on social media can come back to haunt them. They may be a very different person today to when they wrote the comments that the social media mob dislikes. But that makes no difference—they still get pilloried for what they wrote fifteen, ten or even five years ago. Even worse is when someone posts something today and find themselves being called out for racism, sexism, ageism or whatever ‘ism’ is currently in vogue.

The saddest thing is that the social media mob is probably a small but very vocal part of the population, and that they are allowed to post anonymously. So all kinds of threats against a person, and even their families, get posted and published. The danger is that people who have a different view to the mob, even though it may be common sense, or a viewpoint that would have been considered reasonable only a few years ago, decide to stop speaking out and the quality of public debate declines.

So what is the Christian approach to all this? Well, maybe the first rule should be don’t use social media! But, of course, many Christians do and there is nothing wrong in doing so. Like most things, social media can be used in a right or wrong way and it does have benefits. But if we are going to use it let’s never do so to attack other people who are also made in the image of God.

Before you post your comment, look at it and ask these questions:
“Would I be happy to see this comment in large headlines on the front page of a newspaper?” If the answer is no, then don’t post it!
If you are posting a comment about someone, hopefully it will always be positive, but just in case it is not ask yourself this question, “Would I say this to the person face to face?” If the answer is no, don’t post it!
Finally ask yourself, “If someone confronted me with this post on social media in five or ten years time, would I be comfortable with it?” If not, don’t post it!

Loving Father, give us the wisdom to handle our spoken and written words with love and care, seeking to encourage and support rather than to criticise and condemn. In Jesus name we pray.

Study by Keith Hartrick


About the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone: 01484-312347
Email: malcolm701@googlemail.com

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