Social media is destroying us. I don’t say that lightly, either. We are losing our ability to sympathize with people. We've replaced the virtue of compassion with crassness. Instead of using caution, we share click-bait before we check the sources—sometimes before we've even read it! In these hyper-political days, it’s easy for us to treat every post as an opportunity to be a bastion for our own political stance.
We bite at our opponents—if we can really call them that—with our memes about the mask mandate. We share our hot displeasure about whether the country should have ever been reopened in the first place. We wage war about whether or not athletes should kneel during the national anthem or schools should reopen.
You wouldn’t talk to people that way in person. But “those idiots” aren’t face-to-face with you, they’re behind a phone just like you are. Those spoiled brat athletes have the same constitutional rights to peacefully protest at their jobs as the school teachers who chose to participate in sick-outs to protest against the government leaders. But it didn’t fit your agenda, so you shared a meme.
You say those gun-toting conservatives should leave their guns at home when they go to their “rallies”, but you turn a blind eye when black men show up fully-loaded to protest on behalf of black lives. Both groups have a constitutional right to protest and bear arms, but one group fit your agenda and the other didn’t.
So we continue. I talk to my friends about how dumb your view is. You talk to yours about how stupid my view is. We never talk face-to-face, but we @ one another in the comments and make sure everyone knows where we stand. We screen shot it and send it to other friends, and the gossip ensues. All of this because we don’t think before we post.
We are like conditioned animals who hear a bell or see a red notification pop-up and respond. We ask Google to provide us with wisdom—and it gives us knowledge without reproach. Can a search engine get mad at you? Nope. But it can cheer you on using algorithms that feed you the narrative you crave. So you find it and you post it.
Jesus has a word for us, and obedience isn’t optional. Even if your church doesn’t discipline you for your words, you should read this and tremble:
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak... -Matthew 12:36
Every careless word.
This includes the memes we share, the comment wars we get in, and the private conversations we have about “those” people. You know.. the “idiot liberals” and the “Republican morons“. Every time we falsely label someone a racist or a cultural Marxist counts, too. Anytime we speak slander and spread lies, we are guilty.
Every careless word.
Most of us are guilty of this. Some of us are sinning like this several times a day. It needs to stop. We must not sit back and let sin reign. The Bible calls us to examine ourselves and put sin to death. If we walk by the Spirit, we will live. But if we walk by the flesh, we are on the path to death. God takes even our little “careless” words seriously. If He does, why would we do otherwise?
What does this look like in practice?
Do you think before you post? Maybe it's time to give up social media for a season until you can build up self-control. That's what the Lord has stirred me to do lately.