September 15, 2020

Before You Click ‘Like’ and ‘Share’

Back in the dark ages when I joined Facebook on my computer in 2009, it was a fun place to go. There were few pictures, and they loaded slowly. Mostly, you just found out about what your friends were doing and enjoyed your comedic friends. There were even fewer videos. I don't even recall ads. 

Since then, it has all changed. The software engineers have put in algorithms to show us what they want us to see, not necessarily what we want to see. There's also much more advertising, and hate groups and evil people are spreading inappropriate things.

What should I consider when sharing?

We can think of several Christian principles and morals when we share items on social media, even when they are true items. Rumors and untruths are shared daily there, and we should not be a part of that. But how does one know what is OK to share and what is not OK? Let's start with the biblical measure for everything we consume.

First Principle: Whatever Is True

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things” (Phil. 4:8, NKJV). 

Is the article you are about to share true? Is it noble? Is it just? Is it pure? Is it lovely? Is it, or the person it is about, of good report? Is there virtue in it? Is there anything praiseworthy in it? If it doesn’t meet these criteria, should you, as a Christian, share it? Paul seems very clear on this. Things we promote need to have these attributes, and if they do not, we should not share them.

Second Principle: Avoid the False

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Ex. 20:16, NKJV).

Do you know for a certainty that what you are about to share is true? If it is not true and you share it anyway, this is one more way in the 21st century of breaking one of the Ten Commandments. If what you are sharing is not true, you are spreading lies and rumors. This is not something we as Christians should be involved in.

Third Principle: Avoid Evil

“Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy” (Prov. 12:20, NIV).

Here is yet another principle and a promise. Those who plot evil are deceivers. They are going to lie. They would not get very far if they were truthful. However, if we promote peace, we will have joy. You really cannot go wrong promoting and sharing peaceful topics on social media, and the Bible says you will have joy in doing so.

Fourth Principle: Whatever Is Loving

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:4-6, NKJV). 

Many stories and videos are promoted on social media, and social media makes money sucking you into watching as many as possible. I can think of many links I see shared that promote envy, rudeness, selfishness, and evil. Only rare ones are rejoicing in pure truth. How would this measure against the last post you shared?

Are you feeling stressed? Consider your media habits and consider following these principles. Apply these principles not just to what you share but also to what you consume. Spend time with your Lord daily. Spend more time with Him than you do on social media. I guarantee you will find more peace following these principles.

And make sure you share my article!

The original version of this commentary was posted by the Mid-America Union Conference Outlook.