What do you say online?
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”
The internet has given everyone a voice. With blogs, social media, and the ability to comment on nearly any news article or thought that is put out on the internet, your views can be made known virtually to the entire world. This is great and terrible.
It’s great because the ability to share thoughts, connect with like-minded people, and even mobilize people for good is easier than it’s ever been. As Christians we have the opportunity to impact people all across the world for the Gospel with the click of the button and the tap of a keyboard. Right now there are blogs being written, scriptures being posted, and videos being made that proclaim the truth of who God is. They can be shared, reposted, go ‘viral’, and literally impact millions of people in 24 hours. You and I have a voice and potential impact unheard of in any generation. But this is also where it gets terrible.
As easy as it is to post things that bring God glory it’s just as easy to post things that grieve Him. Thanks to the internet a disagreement can be aired for all the world to see. I’ve seen prominent pastors – that don’t even know each other – throw passive aggressive fireballs via blogs and I’ve seen friends post comments on Facebook that they would never say face to face to a person. And the sad thing of it all is a majority of the attacks on Christian beliefs and practices found on the internet come from other Christians!
The Bible has a lot to say about the sins that come from our heart and mouth such as gossip, slander, dissensions, and divisions. In Mark 7:20 Jesus talks about the things that defile us and right there with sexual immorality and murder we find slander. The Apostle Paul affirms that same list in Ephesians 5:3 and Galatians 5:20 and Jesus brother James calls the tongue a ‘world of unrighteousness’.
I’ll be honest, I am tempted by the ease of the internet often. I’m sitting in Starbucks as I type this and I can pick out several quirky people around me that I could comment on via Facebook. I’d most likely get a response from some ‘friends’ and we could laugh together about this or that and the person we’re talking about – who I don’t even know – would never have a clue. The virtual gossip room is always available.
Whether we rationalize our careless words under the guise of contending for the Gospel or are just looking to have a perverse laugh at someone’s expense, it’s sobering to think that this sin is no less than murder or adultery.
The best way to change a habit is to form a new one. If you’ve found it increasingly easy to post negative things online, than make it a point to do the opposite. Find one ‘friend’ a day on your social network to send an encouraging or affirming word. If you read something that you disagree with pray for that person, contact them directly to have a discussion, or if it’s someone you know even meet with them in person. Let’s desire to honor God with our words and use the internet to bring him Glory!
“The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”