Intersection of Life and Faith

7 Questions to Ask before Posting about Politics on Social Media

  • Scott Slayton Contributor to ChristianHeadlines.com
7 Questions to Ask before Posting about Politics on Social Media
When you consider how divisive politics can be and how often we say things in the heat of a moment that can influence the way people view Jesus and the Gospel, Christians must spend time in careful thought before they post about politics on social media.

In fact, I would suggest that there are seven questions you should ask yourself before you post about politics or share a link to an article about a political issue.

Engaging with people on social media, particularly about politics, can be tricky. Here are seven questions you should ask yourself before you post about politics or share a link to an article about a political issue.

  • How can Christians discuss politics on social media in a Godly way?

    How can Christians discuss politics on social media in a Godly way?

    Slide 1 of 8

    When you consider how divisive politics can be and how often we say things in the heat of a moment that can influence the way people view Jesus and the Gospel, Christians must spend time in careful thought before they post about politics on social media. 

    In fact, I would suggest that there are seven questions you should ask yourself before you post about politics or share a link to an article about a political issue.

  • How can Christians discuss politics on social media in a Godly way?

    1. Do I have the correct facts?

    Slide 2 of 8

    “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” While King Solomon couldn’t foresee the advent of social media, he knew the human heart. Proverbs 18:2 reminds us of the importance of hearing and understanding a matter before we start talking about it. The more divisive the issue, the more time we need to spend understanding it.

  • How can Christians discuss politics on social media in a Godly way?

    2. Does this need to be said?

    Slide 3 of 8

    “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29). 

    Is what you have to say going to bring grace to those who hear it? Will they increase in understanding and gain a greater insight into the Bible’s perspective on this issue? Will your words point them to Christ? Or, is what you are going to say be mere venting? Are you going to bring light, or are you going to bring heat only?

  • How can Christians discuss politics on social media in a Godly way?

    3. Why do I need to be the person to say this?

    Slide 4 of 8

    Let’s pretend that what you want to say about politics on social media should be said. Now you need to consider if you are the right person to say it. Do you have an insight into this issue that you haven’t seen somewhere else, or are you merely repeating an argument you read in another place? Do you have a role or responsibility where people are looking to you for guidance? Why should you be the person to say what you are about to say?

  • How can Christians discuss politics on social media in a Godly way?

    4. Am I saying this in a way that represents Christ?

    Slide 5 of 8

    “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” People who have experienced grace should speak in a way that exhibits grace. Often, we post the first thing that comes to our minds about an issue, don’t read it to see how it sounds, and end up bringing shame upon Christ and his church through our hasty speech. Venting opinions that are not thought out and that insult others is a sign of tremendous foolishness, demonstrates a lack of love for our neighbors, and does not bring honor to Jesus.

    Before you post something, read it three or four times. Take a screenshot of it and send it to a friend. Is it kind? Is it accurate? Is it designed for the good of others? Will it negatively impact how other people think of Jesus?

  • How can Christians discuss politics on social media in a Godly way?

    5. How could I be misunderstood?

    Slide 6 of 8

    I learned my lesson this past August on Facebook. I posted about what I believed to be Donald Trump’s lack of commitment to pro-life issues and said that it was a terrible mistake to nominate him. Almost immediately, my friends and family perceived that my concerns about Trump were an endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

    The lesson I learned from this was that there was nothing to be gained by questioning the decision to nominate Trump, which at this point was in the past. The Presidential contest was primarily between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I failed to think through how people would interpret my concerns about one candidate as an endorsement of the other. My post brought no light or grace to the situation and only brought confusion.

    Stop and think before you post. Are you communicating clearly and is there a possible way for a significant number of people to misunderstand you?

  • How can Christians discuss politics on social media in a Godly way?

    6. What are my motives for saying this?

    Slide 7 of 8

    We must be aware of our motives because they will determine what we say, how we say it, when we say it, and how we will respond to people who disagree with us. If our motive is to vent because we are angry, we will speak harshly, rashly, immediately, and eviscerate those who disagree with us. On the other hand, if our motives mirror Paul’s in 1 Corinthians 10:31-32, then we will speak graciously, kindly, thoughtfully, and respond patiently to those who disagree.

  • How can Christians discuss politics on social media in a Godly way?

    7. Can I wait until tomorrow to say this?

    Slide 8 of 8

    When Abraham Lincoln got angry with someone, he would fire off what he called a “hot letter.” He would set aside the letter until his emotions cooled off. Then, he would read the letter with a cool head. He left many letters unsigned and unsent.

    While Abraham Lincoln wrote letters instead of posts on social media, his practice provides a worthy example for us today. If your post deals with a particularly sensitive topic, can it wait until tomorrow? If it can wait a day, save it as a draft and revisit it tomorrow. You may find that you read it with fresh eyes and see that you shouldn’t post it. Or you may see that it would be helpful to people and click “post.” Either way, the longer you can wait before inserting yourself into a conversation, the better.

     

    Adapted from the Crosswalk.com article "7 Questions to Ask before Posting about Politics on Social Media" by Scott Slayton.

    Photos courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com

    Publication date: February 1, 2017