Something has got to give with social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more are at the heart of the discord in our country. Sadly Christians are prolifically spreading rumors and outright falsehoods. Others do it too, but we should be better than that. I want to use my little platform to call for a commitment to Christian principles by every brother or sister who uses any form of social media.
I pledge to spend more time in Bible study than on social media.
Why would we spend more time on Facebook than in the Bible? Is there more truth on Instagram than in Scripture? Will Twitter make your life better than the Gospels? The psalmist wrote, “the sum of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus said, “your word is truth” (John 17:17).
I know this is a problem because I have been there. As soon as you get out of bed, you grab your phone and begin scrolling through Facebook, don’t you? I did. How many times during the day do you sneak a peek at Twitter? I’m guilty! We could spend those minutes in the word of God!
I pledge to be the salt, not vinegar.
Matthew 5:13. Jesus calls us to be salty. We must flavor and enhance all our contacts. Sometimes, vinegar is the right ingredient but only occasionally. Many of our contacts are unlearned in ethical, moral, and spiritual matters, so do not blast them with a cup vinegar; use a pinch of salt instead.
Notice how gentle Jesus was with sinners. Think of the woman caught in adultery in John 8 or tax collector Zaccheus. What about the sinful woman of Luke 7 who broke an alabaster vial to anoint Jesus for his burial? Jesus was so kind to these. His words were careful to heal and draw them closer. To be sure, there is a place for a strong rejoinder. Matthew 23 records one rebuke after another for the religious leaders. Still, choose your words carefully and let your words be soft. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
I pledge to read every story before I like it or share it.
This is the greatest challenge on social media. Earlier this month, Twitter announced that you are required to add commentary to retweets. It’s hoped that you will slow down and consider what you are sharing rather than just blasting through some saucy words that appeal to your baser instincts.
Before passing along a story and endorsing its contents, you absolutely must read the entire story. Otherwise, you will find yourself horribly embarrassed. Most troubling is when others know you are a Christian, and they associate some awful story with your Lord!
I pledge to never share vulgarity or course language.
Another reason to read every story is to avoid being embarrassed by vulgar or coarse language. And, yes, it has happened to me.
Many think vulgarity is the norm today. Our president regularly uses such language, as do other leaders. Athletes think nothing of foul talk, and even their coaches are often seen on the sidelines blasting out evil talk. We know because we can read lips. Music artists long ago crossed the line and recently have plunged even deeper into profane and gross language. Why would we give any support to any of this? We are Christians, and we must be different (1 Peter 2:1-10). Peter says to put away “evil speaking” and remember that we are “children of God.” Paul said it this way, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4).
I’ll add that social media may color our personal conversations. By exposing yourself to vulgarity and profanity, you pollute the well of your thoughts.
I pledge to never share or like any story or meme that I personally do not know to be true.
A not-insignificant reason for the division in our country today is the professional and semi-professional media. If you read and post on social media, you are able to use the vast resources of the internet to confirm any story that comes your way. Make it your goal to seek out better sources for news other than Fox and CNN. Find reliable media outlets and thoroughly read every article before you share it!
Passing along false or misleading reports is gossip, slander, and lying. While you may not intend to deceive, you do. In passing along false reports, you also contribute to the uproar and division in our world. Is that what you want?
I pledge to reject the chaos and will be a peacemaker
Profound division marks our culture. There is little discussion of issues but an abundance of ad hominem attacks and criticisms. Nothing is accomplished in the public square because of our distrust and dislike of one another. Violence will only grow worse if God’s people continue to contribute to the habitat of hatred that is our present age.
Jesus declared that peacemakers are the “sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). His brother, James, wrote that “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 5:9). Paul said peace identifies the kingdom of God (Romans 14:17-19), and he prayed for God’s peace to be upon us all (Romans 15:33). Jesus did say that he came not to bring peace but a sword (Luke 12:51). Does anyone really think he would approve of this mess with which we have surrounded ourselves? Would Jesus share the sort of sleaze we pass around today?
We are children of the King! We can and must do better.
So what about it? Will you make the pledge? Share this article and retweet it.