In this day of instant social media access, where anyone can express their thoughts and opinions regardless of merit or even truthfulness we are being inundated with questionable information.
A piece of sage advice that has been suggested before you decide to speak or send your post into the stratosphere where it will live forever is: Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
As far as I have been able to determine, the original version of this quote by Bernard Meltzer, a radio personality was: Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful. If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.
Either way, the advice is worth following.
Too many times, I have wished that I had run my comments through this filter before I spoke or hit the Post button.
For Christians there are other questions that we need to ask before we express our thoughts and opinions, either verbally or in writing.
1. Is what I am going to say in agreement with the teachings of scripture?
Passages such as Philippians 1:27 come into play here. Only let your conduct (includes social media posts) be worthy of the gospel of Christ. One commentator put it this way: “Believers are to have integrity, i.e. to live consistent with what they believe.” If it doesn’t line up with the Bible, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.
2. Will I be able to share the gospel with that person after I say/write it?
What affect will your statement have on your ability to share Jesus with another person, who may stand on the other side of an issue from you? You can express your opinion, but too many times in the process of expressing our opinions we demean the person we disagree with. Calling people names or using derogatory language runs contrary to Biblical statements such as, Let your speech always be with grace (Colossians 4:6).
3. Will people think that I’m a Christian after they hear or read my words?
Another way to ask this question is: How will it affect my testimony? Words are powerful things – James equates them to a raging forest fire. People rightly judge us by what we say or write and make certain assumptions based on our words and the tone of our words. You can destroy your testimony with one careless, critical, cutting statement, post or tweet.
4. Will what I say advance the Kingdom of God or not?
Life is not about advancing your political position or party. It’s about the Kingdom of God. You might not agree with me here, but God is not a Democrat or Republican. He’s not pro-BLM or anti-BLM. He’s not liberal or conservative. His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). And neither is yours or mine. We belong to a heavenly kingdom and we need to make sure that our words are advancing that Kingdom.
You can be politically involved just remember that His Kingdom is the one that sets the standards for our lives.
The issue is not just about our words – it’s about our words in the context of our faith. If your words or FB Posts are not guided by and reflect a Biblical faith then your faith is not what it should be.
Stay in the Word,