Recently, we have witnessed the tragic results of one tweet from one person. Rosanne Barr sent out a tweet that had racial implications. I’m not going to quote it. You can search exactly what she said. Racism is a terrible and ungodly attitude. Sadly, it is often a learned and repetitive behavior. God loves everyone regardless of sex, race, or any other category you might choose to use.
But Rosanne’s action on twitter resulted in a quick and decisive action. Her new ABC television show was immediately canceled at the close of its first season. It had been the #1 new show of the year. I’m sure many have conspiracy theories about why the show was cancelled. However, the lesson to be learned is that care should be taken before we send anything out on social media. And Rosanne isn’t the only one who have made some twitter blunders; consider Kevin Durant, Kardashians, and Donald Trump.
The internet is a wonderful technology. It can allow us to communicate with others immediately. But just like any other tool, it can be dangerous. I’m sure many of us have communicated something we wish we could take back. But in anger or hurt, we expressed something that we should have kept to ourself.
Previously, we had time to reconsider our communication. I can recall many letters I started to write, but before I mailed it threw it in the trash. I’ve written many emails, and by the time I finished I decided to delete it. But Twitter, FaceBook, and other social media outlets allow us to immediately respond without allowing our inner filter to stop us. And like any communication, once it is received it is hard to overcome.
In his book 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing Us, author Tony Reinke warns of the latest trend of cyber-bullying. This is a great book about the pros and cons of our smart phones. People can say some pretty harsh things behind the darkness of the internet. As Christians, we need to realize that our words expose and define us. We need to be careful what we say. Our words can tear down quicker than they build up. Our words either curse others and us or bless others and us.
If you are on social media, you know the power of words. For most of us we have very few followers so our words have little impact. But we also need to be careful who we follow because we are impacted by their words. But we all need to be careful of what we say.
So before you send out your next tweet or share you next Facebook post, here are a few questions you can ask yourself. It may save you some embarrassment or regret later.
1 – Is it true?
This question would stop a lot of shares on Facebook. Much of the sensational posts are fabricated. Some posts are satyrical, but people read them as true and pass them on. Before you share a post do a little research to make sure you are not passing on a lie.
2 – Is it kind?
Some people must enjoy being mean because they do it all the time. Even if it is true, is it something that needs to be said? Would you want someone to say this publicly about you? Scripturally, if you have a criticism toward another you should go to them privately before you make it public.
3 – Is it positive?
Does your tweet build up another person? An example that helps me is to think that I carry two cans; one filled with water and one filled with gasoline. When I come to a fiery situation, I decide which one I am going to throw on the fire. Does what I say make it better or worse. My mom used to remind me, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” Great advise for us all.
4 – Is it godly?
One of the dangers of the internet is the proliferation of ungodly content: pornography, gambling, spam, etc. There is so much ungodly content. I wish you could filter out some of what you see or read. But one thing you need to make sure is not to share ungodly content. Some things are funny, but aren’t really appropriate to share. Like many movies, they could have left that part out. But one of the thoughts I ask myself is: Is this something I would share to Jesus? Or more practical for me: Is this something I would share with my wife or my mom? If you wouldn’t say it to Jesus, your spouse, or your mom, don’t share it with others.
I hope this will help you as you share your thoughts or those of others on social media. If you have suggestions or comments, please leave them here. But remember, before you comment, ask these 4 questions.