I read an article by Andrew MacDonald that appeared in Christianity Today titled, “Conspiracy Theories, Engaging Online, and Wisdom: The intersection of the Three and How to Respond Biblically.” It addresses how Christians should respond to issues in the news on social media.
MacDonald writes, “While social media offers amazing opportunities to connect and learn, it seems that every new day brings new stories of awfulness. Baptizing the quote often ascribed to Churchill: the greatest argument against humanity’s inherent goodness is five minutes scrolling through the average social media feed.”
MacDonald makes a good point; people are fast to respond to things they read without thinking clearly through what is being said, or what may or may not be true about what is said. People on social media tend to respond emotionally rather than thoughtfully.
MacDonald suggests we should take the words of James to heart, “But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger,” James 1:19. He then offers three ways we can slow down our rhetoric and be more thoughtful in what we say. I want to share his three suggestions.
First, “Is Christ Lord of your social media?” MacDonald says most people would be quick to answer, yes, to this question, “But Christ being Lord of your social media is less a matter of what your profile says and more a matter of what you say and how you relate to others.”
He goes on to say, “Christians need to recognize that they cannot separate their Christian witness from their political posts … How we speak to one another, the kinds of stories we elevate, and the language we choose all flow out of this question of lordship.”
Second, “Ask for wisdom.” James enjoins us, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…and it will be given him,” James 1:5. God has already given us much wisdom in His Word. When we respond to an issue with our own opinion while ignoring what God has said about it in His Word we usually just add to the confusion.
God has given us much direction on many matters and what He thinks is infinitely more important and effective than anything we could ever conceive. Sometimes wisdom is simply seeking God on how to apply what He has already revealed in His Word.
And last, “Hit pause.” One of the pastors who has mentored me told me that when someone confronts him about something he has said or done, he listens closely to what is said and tells the person he will pray about it. He does not do this to put the person off or dismiss their point; it gives him an opportunity to reflect and pray about the matter apart from what may have been an initial, emotional response, wise advice!
When it comes to social media, we would all be better served if we would simply slow down.