Many forget that God talks about Twitter in the Bible. Okay, so He doesn’t call it out by name. But, like so many other issues that aren’t directly mentioned, we still get a good solid framework for how we should act. The book of Proverbs, in particular, has much to say about what separates a wise person from a fool, as we shall see.
In this violent, sinful age, we benefit from knowing the news pretty much just as fast as it happens because of the Internet. Yet, opinions also fly just as fast, and there are always way more opinions than the truth. A significant number of these opinions are made much earlier than they should be. Some are declared factual to the point of causing dangerous misinformation and misdirected rage. Christians—and everyone else, for that matter—should hold back from joining the fray with reckless abandon.
- Post based on information that has been widely confirmed by a number of reputable news sources. Yes, perhaps you won’t be the first among all your friends to break the news. But neither will you have to delete what you said because it turns out to be wrong. James 1:19 says we should be ‘quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God’.
- Going off of James 1:19 above, be light, not heat: Is there an intelligent thought you have about the situation in question? Or are you going to simply tear someone down instead? If it’s the latter, you’re better off not posting and therefore contributing to the madness. There will always be no shortage of people ready to take on any comers, and the best thing you can do is to be civil. Avoid arguments that will not give glory to the Kingdom. Sometimes, Jesus knew that silence was the best answer when speaking to people with unresponsive hearts (Mark 15:1-5). Related to this, make sure your goal in posting is not simply to garner ‘likes’.
- Be willing to listen to other’s honest viewpoints or corrections and to revise your views if necessary. Proverbs 10:17 says ‘Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray’. In other words, one must be open to valid criticisms.
- Avoid becoming overburdened. There is a large difference between knowing the news and knowing every possible opinion about it. The former is being an informed citizen. The latter wastes untold amounts of time, energy, and tends to leave one feeling bitter. Unless it is somehow required of you (maybe you are the PR/Social Media Manager of a major business), or you have a genuine contribution or question, there is a lot to be gained by skipping the comments section or a global list of tweets about a certain subject.
- Related to that, choose news sources wisely. Not only do we have to choose what we read, but how it is reported. There are sensational news sources, there are single-side news sources, and there are news sources that are sometimes quick rather than correct. The challenge is finding a couple fair sources, and this is way harder than it may first seem. Proverbs 12:5 says ‘The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.’ We must be careful what sources we allow to counsel us about what is happening in the world, like a ruler who must decide which advisors to surround himself with.
- Finally, and most importantly, pray. There is quite a lot in this world that is heartbreaking for God to see. All of it, however, is neither unexpected by Him nor outside His control and His plan. The world today can drain the very life out of us if we let it. Fortunately, God is the source of unending strength to face the challenges of life, and we were not meant to tackle all of life’s ills apart from Him.
A Social Media Heart Check by Desiring God