Throwing Down on Social Media
Dr. Paul Dean is a pastor, cultural commentator, and author. He serves as a Regional Mentor with the International Association of Biblical Counselors, speaks at several conferences throughout the year, and provides training for ministers and churches on a regular basis. Paul resides in the Upstate of South Carolina with his wife and three children.
- 2016 May 17
“I wanna start a fight, so, so what?” I’ve felt that urge before and opened up my twitter app. And that’s why I deleted my twitter account. If your right arm offends you, right? Not that every Christian should do like me. But, “pics or it didn’t happen?” Be careful. Why not “too precious for Facebook?”
But the fight thing: that’s the issue. Christians taking to Twitter to vent; or scrolling through the Facebook feed to comment on hot topics. Some feel the urge to engage. Others are reluctant. Then there are those who tell us we must engage or we’re not fulfilling our gospel responsibility. We’re contributing to the error if we don’t correct it. We’re letting truth fall to the ground if we don’t say something.
Of course we must speak the truth – advance the gospel. At the same time, sometimes being a credible witness for Christ means not mixing it up. Paul said, “Avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife” (2 Tim. 2:23). It’s also true that “He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears” (Prov. 26:19). Grab that German Shepherd if you want to, but God says it’s not wise.
So how do we know when to comment and when to move on? How do we know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em? And when to play ‘em for that matter? Here are a few principles.
1) Ignore the atheist or contrarian who simply loves to contradict (Prov. 26:4).
2) Don’t get into someone else’s fight (Prov. 26:19).
3) Avoid all foolish disputes (2 Tim. 2:23).
4) Don’t be argumentative (Prov. 26:20-21; 2 Tim. 2:24).
5) Don’t let your emotions drive you to comment when you shouldn’t (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
6) Realize that you’re likely to be misunderstood for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that readers can’t see your body language or hear your intonations (1 Cor. 2:14; Prov. 26:4; Col. 4:5-6).
7) Know that you’re not obligated to answer every person or every comment (Rom. 15:19-20).
8) Set aside God in your heart before you speak (1 Pet. 3:15).
9) Pick your moments; be wise and judicious as to when you speak and what you say (Col. 4:5-6).
10) When you do comment, don’t offer opinion, but root your words in Scripture (Rom. 1:16; 1 Thess. 2:13). In other words, cast down arguments with biblical truth (Prov. 26:5; 2 Cor. 10:3-5; 1 Pet. 3:15).
11) Warn those who stubbornly refuse to listen and move on (Matt. 10:14; Acts 13:46).
12) Don’t be ugly, but build up (Eph. 4:29).
It’s not about starting a fight.