The past few weeks have been challenging to say the least because of the global impact of this pandemic. It has created a crisis on many different fronts – physical, financial, emotional, social, and political. The news and discussions online have sometimes been distressing and quite alarming. It’s understandable that many are agitated, upset, frustrated, and some are even angry.
As Christians, how we respond during these times is critical. With the increasing social unrest and heightened sensitivity (especially online), we can either help or make matters worse, depending on what we say. Let’s keep in mind that we are called to honor God in every way, including our posts on social media. We are also called to be disciples and to make disciples, so we hope to set an example for everyone through what we say online. Colossians 4:5,6 commands us to: Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Before we post online, let’s remember that we are Christians first with a citizenship in heaven before we are citizens of our nation. If we do post, here are some questions we could ask ourselves:
- Will it honor God or just satisfy me?
It would be good if we first check why we’re posting and what our goal is.
- Will it help make disciples or discourage disciples?
Let’s always keep discipleship in mind when we post. We can’t afford to be distracted from our mission to help others grow in their walk with God.
- Will it build others up or tear them down?
The criticism we provide can be constructive or destructive. We can determine who we are trying to address in our community, what kind of example the post will set, and who will be affected by the post. Consider also those who may be inadvertently affected.
- Will it be a stepping stone or a stumbling block?
We hope that the fruit of the Spirit is evident and abounding in the message and through our lives. Let’s not respond in anger (Ephesians 4:26) and lose our Christian witness through this.
- Am I being led by the Spirit or the crowd?
If we believe that God is telling us to speak up, then let’s do it. But let’s not just give in to pressure and post something. If we are being led by the crowd, we may not need to say it.
- Is it based on facts or feelings?
Specify, clarify, and qualify. Let’s not generalize and make blanket statements. Verify the facts before reacting (Proverbs 25:8). If we can’t get our facts straight, our credibility may be questioned. Let’s be clear about what we are really against. If not, the post can be easily misunderstood. If we are upset at one person, we probably just need to talk to the person instead of making a post.
- Is it speaking against evil deeds or vilifying a person?
Speak against evil and injustice, not people or personalities. Let’s determine if: we are holding people accountable or cursing authority; we are speaking life or wishing ill on people (Proverbs 18:21); the spirit by which we are speaking is upholding or reviling authority (Acts 23:5). Let’s remember that the battle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), and there’s no point in vilifying or demonizing people who oppose our views. Remember, not everyone has to agree with you.
This crisis is challenging and overwhelming, but we can respond to it with faith and hope because we know that God is in control and this situation is not beyond Him. Let us continue to declare and demonstrate the gospel. We believe that what a fearful world needs now is a fearless church. Let’s continue to pray for our nation, serve our communities in any way we can, and believe for God’s amazing grace to turn this crisis around. As God’s people, in every dark and seemingly hopeless situation, we are called to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13–16).