Social media amplifies mean spirited posts. They propagate in the matter of minutes across the social media sphere. They grab people’s attention and thus make more money for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like. The sad result is these mean spirited posts hurt and divide people. It is not the Christian thing to do. Scripture is clear.
22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant[a] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:22-26; ESV)
What does the Apostle Paul tell Timothy:
- Pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.
- Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies.
- Must not be quarrelsome.
- Kind to everyone.
- Able to teach.
- Patiently enduring evil.
- Correcting his opponents with gentleness.
Why do this so that “God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth”. Too many Christians post or repost half truths, lies, and mean spirited content. That is not being a good witness, and it does not promote the Christian Faith. It does the exact opposite. Don’t let the Christian name be dragged through the mud of falsehoods.
Another passage that strongly suggests that we are to be a force for good.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[a] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[b] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:14-21; ESV)
Here we see that we are to
- Bless and do not curse them.
- Be empathetic.
- Live in harmony.
- Associate with the lowly.
- Repay no one evil for evil.
- Do what is honorable in the sight of all.
- Live peaceably with all.
- Never avenge yourselves.
- Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I think a good summary of this passage is “overcome evil with good”. There are plenty more passages that speak to how we should act. Here are a few more passages with the key idea phrases and context links.
- Love bears all things (1 Corinthians 13:7)
- Let your speech always be gracious (Colossians 4:5-6)
- Speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15-16)
- Do not speak evil against one another (James 4:11-12)
- Do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15-17)
- Keep loving one another earnestly (1 Peter 4:8)
So as Christians, be kind to everyone online and off. Please do not post or repost mean spirited messages. That includes even those posts you consider funny but others will find that post offensive. Check and make certain what you are posting comes from reliable sources. That means that you should also make certain other reliable sources carry the same information. Realize what you post will be seen by many different types of people who may not understand the context of your post. Again, be kind and show love to everyone.
To sum up from Luther’s Small Catechism:
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God, so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.
Note there are some instances when speaking the truth in love to a person eventually requires you speak harshly to them to wake them up out of their sin (e.g. self-righteous hypocrisy) but those instances should not be social media posts for all to see.
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