I'm not trying to write new Scripture here, that's contrary to everything I believe; but someone needs to make a point, and it looks like that someone is going to be me. The principle is that our communication should first of all be wholesome, and that it should be aimed at building people up, not tearing them down. No thinking person will argue that social media can be downright unwholesome at times, nor can it be argued that though it is well used by some to edify, it's also effectively used to tear down.
I've seen far too many things posted on social networking that violate these principles of wholesome and uplifting communication and no doubt have been guilty of it myself on occasion. The offending things come in at least a couple forms:
- Outright insults--There are no end of the battles between people fought in the virtual press whether it's politics, school rivalries, lovers' quarrels, personal battles...they're all out there. Points can be made without putting people down. Ideas can be criticized without attacking people.
- Questionable photos and content--Speaking here to those who are professing Christians, do you really look at what you're posting? It it really there to build someone up, or just to get a laugh or make a point? Must a statement be made this way? Is the humor really worth travelling down the path of thought the picture takes us? Is the content of an article or link really necessary to share with everyone, even with a warning on language? It might be, but is it really helpful and is it necessary to share so broadly that everyone sees it, or might it better to share it privately if it's of significant value?
My rule of thumb has become "Do I want my granddaughter reading this?" Whether it's a cutting comment, an inappropriate photo or bad language, the answer is a resounding "NO."
As I've already admitted, I've been guilty of sharing some things that hindsight makes me think I'd have been better not sharing; but a couple things I've seen lately, posted by people I respect greatly, make me ask the question. I'll be watching my own fingers a bit more closely from here on.