“A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back” Proverbs 29:11
Modern technology with social media on the world-wide internet provides a vast scope of accessibility to spread God’s love and His plan of salvation to the entire world. But it also has potential to cause great harm to the Faith and the Church.
Let me illustrate:
Monday, during the inauguration for President Obama's second and final term, Pastor Mark Driscoll tweeted a controversial statement that launched a very heated reply and retweet conversation.
In the hot-button tweet, Driscoll says, "Praying for our President, who today will be placing his hand on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know."
In response, church leaders like Scott Hodge, Eugene Cho, Jason Boyett and Carlos Whittaker shared their strong disdain for Driscoll's tweet and perceived it as judgmental, ultra-critical and unhelpful. Actress Alyssa Milano also responded to Driscoll's tweet saying, "Your last tweet is not very Christian of you. Shouldn't you be inspiring people to love and have compassion and respect?"
However, in the midst of the heated discussion surrounding the inauguration tweet, it has received more than 2,100 retweets from like-minded leaders. So, we'd like to pose the question to you.
Do you think Driscoll's tweet is way off-base, right on or somewhere in between?
The response to this question about the propriety of Mark Driscoll’s tweet brought 238 comments from every possible side of the issue. How about you? Would you tweet a statement like this or post it on Facebook? Should you?
Here’s what I am going to do, I am going to approach this topic of the benefits and dangers of social media for Christians by first, putting it in the context of some Scriptures and the offering some counsel from the Scriptures.
SOME CONTEXT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Consider some Scriptures regarding this issue to put it in context.
“The Bible has something to say about social media,” You ask?
Well, the Bible says a lot about how to speak and communicate and that is what social media is, right?
“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19
“For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” James 3:2-6
“The tongue is a fire” “it is set on fire by hell” – Pretty strong statements!
What happens if a fire touches something valuable?
What happens if a fire sends out burning embers into the wind?
When you combine the truths of those two Scriptures together it comes out like this – THE TONGUE IS HARD TO CONTROL AND CONTAMINATED BY SIN SO MORE WORDS = MORE CHANCES TO SIN. FEWER WORDS = FEWER CHANCES TO SIN.
Does that shed any light on Mark Driscoll’s tweet?
“For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. James 3:7-12
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20
“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these comes from evil.” Matthew 5:37 (Jesus speaking from Sermon on Mount)
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
Again, combine the truths of these key verses and it puts it in this context – UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF YOUR TONGUE AND THE HARM IT CAN CAUSE, BE VERY CAREFUL AND COMTEMPLATIVE BEFORE YOU POST OR TWEET. MAKE SURE YOUR HEART IS RIGHT BEFORE YOU TYPE OR HIT “SEND”.
Does this shed light on Mark Driscoll’s tweet?
View Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms for what they are – VAST PUBLIC FORUMS – with massive opportunities to spread the Gospel as well as massive potential to discredit it. View social media as a power tool with great power to create or damage. Use carefully and wear goggles!
SOME COUNSEL ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Three Big Issues:
‘See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.’ Ephesians 5:16
What does it mean to “redeem the time?” The word “redeeming” in the Greek can mean “to buy up, ransom, or rescue from loss.” We need to rescue from loss the time that remains in our life. We can only redeem today and plan to redeem tomorrow, for yesterday is gone! We alone are responsible for using what God has given to each of us—time—to prepare for our spiritual calling.
Am I using this time to glorify or edify?
Am I spending more time one Facebook than in God’s Book?
Am I making good use of this person’s time?
2) TESTIMONY – “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back”
“And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by him.” Colossian 3:17
Will this glorify or edify?
If I were an non-believer would this make me more or less likely to believe?
Will I feel good about having 10,000 people reading this?
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Three areas of temptation:
A) Strife – Mark Driscoll’s Post – - - Do we need to know everything about us?
B) Straying – Am I flirting or becoming emotionally involved?
C) Sexual Sin – Am I involved in pornography on the internet?
HOW AM I USING SOCIAL MEDIA?
IS THERE SOMETHING I NEED TO REPENT OF?
AM I SPENDING MORE TIME IN SOCIAL MEDIA THAT IN BIBLE STUDY AND PRAYER?
DO MY POSTS AND TWEETS HONOR GOD AND OR ARE THEY ABOUT GETTING ATTENTION FOR MYSELF?
AM I LOOKING AT IMPROPER AND IMPURE THINGS ON THE INTERNET?