Manners for Social Media in Polarized Times

by Jim Elliff May 26, 2021

1. Describing others with demeaning epithets is arrogant and unbecoming. Let’s run as far from it as we possibly can. Calling a person “stupid,” or “an idiot,” for instance, tells us more about our character than theirs.

2. Making uninvited humorous comments about physical characteristics of others is childish at best, but also rude and condescending. It often shows disrespect for God as Creator. Even in jest, it should be cut out of our speech repertoire. It would help to take a look in the mirror first.

3. Reacting immediately to hearsay and unsubstantiated “news,” rather than seeking out the facts is dangerous and demonstrates how much we love to be first with the bad news and last with the good. It’s rejoicing in the downfall of others. Is immediate reaction the way we wish others to treat us? Delay your judgment. You may well be wrong in your assessment.

4. Wearing the judge’s robe the first thing in the morning as if to say we are the all-knowing one shows a superior view of ourselves that no one really appreciates. Christians do evaluate in order to avoid evil and wrong associations and to lead others, but only after carefully understanding the facts. The ultimate judge is God, and he hasn’t assigned that job to you or me, except in special cases (1 Cor 6). “‘Vengeance is mine,’ says the Lord . . .”

5. Catching a person in a word rather than seeking to know what he or she truly means reveals an impatience and determined bias against those we accuse. We want them to look bad. We should be among those who do not assume but discuss to know the heart and intentions.

6. Rejoicing over the calamity of others is calloused and truly reprehensible. It’s the opposite of love. Such news should typically make us sad rather than happy, even if the Lord has wisely administered it for the good of all.

Christian friends, we must be careful to watch our heart and our words. Have we adopted the spirit of the age? Most of the time our family and social media friends can get along without our condescending viewpoint. Is all our careless ranting displaying the glory and beauty of Christ? Surely it is time to change.

Remember, if we “live by the sword, we’ll die by the sword.” The spirit and unloving way we give it out to others will be returned in kind.

As one pastor wisely stated, “Be careful who you pass on the way up, because you’ll pass the same person on the way down.”

I’ve often been stopped by this thought: We have a God in Heaven who has full knowledge of who we are-—our thoughts, motives, hidden sins, biases, and sometimes untutored and distorted values.

Will you work on your words and attitude along with me?

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” . . .

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; and then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:9-10; 17)

Editor’s Note: This originally published at Christian Communicators Worldwide

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