Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
– Romans 14:4
They are legion.
Opinions on every imaginable subject multiply daily in the primal soup we call the Internet. Cloaked in the mantle of free speech and safely walled off from real life, WHAT I THINK emerges from the muck of an uninhibited stream of consciousness. It is crowned in the soft glow of the computer screen, and it feeds the narcissism running rampant through our society.
The ability to hurt or encourage others with our words is a powerful feeling. This is never more evident than on social media sites. It’s fun to post things that make us laugh or stir our spirits. It’s great to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
But why do we think the world needs our opinions? Why is it okay to make loud and rude comments online that we would never make to a person’s face? Here, it seems, anonymity emboldens us and breeds a strange contempt for others.
The coveted “Like” button has grown from the benevolent click of agreement into a scepter bestowing approval or sentencing a post to an obscure death. We can show our distain for someone simply by withholding that precious moment of validation.
Conversely, we can’t help but check throughout a day to see if anyone noticed our post and if the right people thought it was okay. We subconsciously gauge our sense of self-worth and even our relationships by our status on social media.
If we’re honest, it boils down to one word: control. We “like” control. We don’t like feeling vulnerable or as if we’re being instructed. We instinctively compare ourselves to others and sometimes feel the dirty, secret need to see successful people fall flat on their faces.
We expect this stuff in the world. How it must hurt God’s heart to see Christians acting this way.
As with all our other social interactions, our online speech should be covered in grace. Our words should bring life to others. God works best through us when we follow in the steps of Christ, who was “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). Truth is centered in God’s Word. Grace is the outflow of His unconditional favor to an undeserving heart.
God doesn’t need us to straighten people out.
He wants our obedience to His Word, measured out with heaping servings of a generous spirit.
When you fire up your computer today, breathe a prayer for those you will meet. Be discerning. Be kind. Be full of grace and truth.
Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
– Colossians 4:6