Is it just me? Or has Facebook become the platform for people to overshare their political and religious drama and opinions? It seems as though every time I open up my News Feed, someone else is ranting and shoving their opinions down everyone else's throats.
Look, I'm all for the freedom of speech. I like a good debate as much as the next person. I know I have friends and family out there who share different beliefs and opinions ranging from their political party to their favorite donut shop (Dunkin or Krispy Kreme?!). And that all is good and dandy. However, it startles me how Christians, in particular, act on Facebook. Before I continue, I want to say, I am calling out my Christian brothers and sisters out there for a reason. And that is because we are to be SET APART. And from what I've seen, many times, we are not. I'm not judging anyone-- in fact, when I was much younger, I used to be a little too brash and opinionated for my own good and I learned very quickly that nothing good would come from it. I just want to share my concerns in hopes that this will, in turn, help someone else.
The first and foremost rule for anyone posting anything on social media is this: Think before you share. Then ask yourself the next four questions:
ONE || Does this content come from a trustworthy and reliable source?
We've all been guilty of this one, I'm sure. But before you share something and rant about it, double check the source. Is it from the Onion? Or Babylon Bee? Unless you're sharing for the humor aspect, better not spew out a debate over it.
TWO || Am I posting this to stir up an unneeded debate or am I sharing this because I'm truly burdened about this topic?
"But God says I need to stand up for what I believe in! I need to spread His Word and convince other people they're sinners!"
Whoa, buddy. Slow down. Yes, as a Christian, we are to be the salt and light. We are to share and spread the gospel to everyone. HOWEVER, what are your true intentions? Is it to bring glory to self? Or to bring glory to Him? Purposefully stirring up a debate on Facebook will not bring glory to God. People become too emotional and offended over comments on a computer because they can't see the other person. We can't deny that. However, it's not what you say or post. It's how you say or post. Here's are two examples:
Person A: Shares a "hot topic" post and writes a whole paragraph on how everyone who disagrees is a horrible person and may the Lord have mercy on that person's soul.
Person B: Shares the same "hot topic" post but writes a Bible verse.
People are more likely to be offended by Person A because that person just judged everyone for disagreeing. People may be offended by Person B, but more times than not, are a little more understanding of the difference in beliefs. I understand this isn't always the case, but I hope you see where I'm coming from. We can't please everyone and there will always be that one person who just won't be respectful of your differences. Just remember to ask yourself whether or not your motives are true when sharing a post that may be controversial.
Proverbs 29: 20 - Seest thou a man [that is] hasty in his words? [there is] more hope of a fool than of him.
Proverbs 16:24 - Pleasant words [are as] an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Ephesians 4:29 - 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.
THREE || If I share this content, am I prepared for the questions and comments, positive or negative, that will come from it?
Oh, I've seen this too. A hot-headed Christian will share something completely controversial and many with opposing opinions will often come back with questions and comments that the person is not prepared to answer. And when the originator of the shared post does answer, it's usually either very weak (or laughable) or it's mean-spirited and downright rude.
Besides being prepared to give an intelligent response, we need to be prepared to give a gracious response. Just because someone is rude doesn't give us the right to be rude back. And that is super hard! Human nature wants to retaliate. However, the Holy Spirit tells us to make sure our response is full of grace.
Colossians 4:6 - Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Proverbs 15:1 - A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
FOUR || How will this affect my Christian testimony?
Will people look at you and say, "WOW. That's the most judgmental person I've ever met. What a jerk!" Or will they look at you and say, "Wow. We may have differing opinions, but that's okay. That person really does care about the people around him/her."
And hey, even from a Christian perspective, I have been embarrassed by other Christians on Facebook for the sole fact that their testimonies have been ruined, even from my point of view! And sometimes I may even agree with their opinion or belief. I just don't agree with the manner in which it was handled. There was one I saw and I just had to read the drama out loud to my husband because it was absolutely ridiculous. A Christian friend had posted something slightly controversial and then couldn't defend her/his beliefs and then was being eaten alive by those with opposing views. Then, was completely rude and was becoming very emotional over this post. My husband, who is very no-nonsense, said "that person just needs to stop...she/he is just getting way too emotional. And it's just Facebook!"
Don't let something so small like a rant on Facebook ruin your testimony. You may end up doing more harm than good.
Matthew 5:16 - Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Moment of bluntness here: What is the best way to handle controversial and hot topics? It's NOT through Facebook or any other social media platform. Let's start having in-person conversations when we can. And if you don't live in the same town, there's this thing called video chat...like Skype or FaceTime. And guess what? It's free! It's easy to hide behind a computer, but in all reality, the best way to tackle these things is to have a face-to-face conversation with someone. You'll be more apt to think through your words and not jump to conclusions because you aren't just reading thoughts on a page. You're seeing facial expressions and hearing tones of voices. Of course, all the same rules apply, but somehow, being face-to-face changes people's points of views.
Friends, let's remember that it's NOT our job to be the Holy Spirit. It's NOT our job to be the "convincer." It's NOT our job to change someone's heart. Our job is to simply spread the gospel and pray for those around us. You never know what doors may open up for a conversation with a friend. You never know who may come knocking on your door, and it may even be the Holy Spirit trying to show you something. (Raises hand because I've been there! So many times I've been in a situation where I'd be the hot-head and then the Holy Spirit comes a-knocking..."Uh...Kaycee, let's check yourself out first please.")
To wrap it up, here is one of the best Bible verses as a takeaway to help us all think before we share on social media.
Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
How do you set yourself apart on social media? What Bible verses help you stay in check? What other tips do you have for those who may struggle in this area? Thanks for stopping by!