Pause and Think, then Post

According to some estimations, about three out of every four people online are engaged in some form of social media. And, the sheer volume of social media outlets continues to grow. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat to just name a few. Because of social media, “like,” “poke,” and “hashtag” have all taken on new meanings and have become part of the common vernacular.

Like most people online, I use social media. I have a few accounts, some of which I use more than others. And, I imagine like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love being able to keep up with friends and have quick access learn and share information. I hate some of the nonsense you put up with in order to do that.

Some of the things people post make me cringe. Some of the comments people make are so filled with hatred and ignorance, they make me shake my head (or should I say smh). Some of the pictures and videos people post are so over the line that they’ve prompted me more than once to hit “block” or “unfollow.”

Sadly, the biggest cause of discouragement for me is not from my online friends who are not believers in Jesus. To be honest, what they say and post bothers me very little (although I have encountered an exception or two). It’s the professing believer in Jesus that often causes me bewilderment. And, to be honest, sometimes the offending poster is me. I’m thankful for my wife who patiently and graciously works to check my unbridled sarcasm and reign in my political diatribes (sometimes more successfully than others). As believers, shouldn’t our speech..our posts do a better job of reflecting Jesus?

Now, I understand that all of this is partly the byproduct of free speech. I sigh and I move on because in our nation, we have the freedom of expression. And I am thankful we do. Legally, we are allowed to say…or post what we want. And, social media gives us a quick and way to express ourselves. So, if you want to continually gripe about your job or your kids or your family drama, go ahead. You have that right. If you want to pour out vitriol, feel free. If you want to post questionable selfies or videos you saw on YouTube, knock yourself out. But understand this, just because you can post something, it doesn’t mean you should. And, just because our Founding Fathers allowed it doesn’t mean it’s honoring to our Father in Heaven.

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. (James 3:7-12 ESV)