Before you post that blog, Facebook status, or tweet, what would be some questions you would ask yourself before doing so? This week, we decided to highlight 5 things you need to consider before you post anything online.
1. Will it edify? Or significantly inform a useful conversation? (Mk 12:29–31; 1 Cor 14:26)
Try to think of what will edify others. All we do is in obedience to the command to love God and others. How will it increase their knowledge, or faith, or love? Are you accurately representing any positions you disagree with? How sure am I of my facts? Trivialities hopefully fill up our lives less than they do so much of the Internet. John Piper has said that “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove on the last day that our prayerlessness was not from lack of time!” He’s right.
2. Will it easily be misunderstood? (Jn 13:7; 16:12)
The privacy of a personal conversation limits misunderstanding. In public posts, some things will sound one way to those who know us, and another to those who don’t. Negative assessments are often best shared privately, or not at all. How many of us have learned at our workplace that email is a terrible way to share any kind of negative comments? And, thinking of more public postings, ask yourself: are there reasons why I may not be a good person to speak on certain matters?
3. Will it bring about unnecessary and unhelpful controversy? (Titus 3:9)
Think carefully about controversy. The line between vigorous exchange of ideas and a kind of social war is sometimes thinner than we may think. What is this particular controversy that I would be contributing to good for? When is it unhelpful? How much time will it take up? Is this an unavoidable primary issue, or a matter about which disagreement is fairly unimportant? Will this controversy play into any other division that threatens the unity of our local church?
4. Is the tone appropriate? (2 John 1, 12; Col. 4:6; Eph. 4:29; 2 Tim 2:24–25)
Will people understand and be encouraged in the truth that you communicate? How important is the tone of your message being rightly received? Is it evidently kind, patient, and gentle? The literal tone of your voice and the look on your face fill out so much of what you mean. In a personal conversation, you can more quickly understand that something needs clarifying and clarify it. The Internet doesn’t sanctify anger or frustration.
5. Will it make people better appreciate someone else? (1 Cor. 12:21–26)
Point out God’s grace in others’ lives, ministries, arguments, etc. Highlighting something that will build others’ esteem for someone else glorifies God and encourages others to see His work in them.
This article was an excerpt of an article originally written by Mark Dever of 9Marks and if you want to read the full list of 12 questions you should ask before posting something, click here!