You have probably been at the receiving end of an online rant on social media, it’s not pleasant, is it? Perhaps, if we are honest then you, like me, have on some occasions hit the block capitals and become a keyboard warrior and written something to someone we now regret.

Social media is becoming increasingly acrimonious as society becomes more polarised. Anonymous trolls seem to delight in posting vindictive and offensive messages. People are willing to say things to other people online that they would never say to the same person face to face. I know I have probably damaged some friendship by hitting the post button to hastily.

All of this is having a devastating impact. At the extreme end of the scale an enquiry in the UK recently found that a teenager girl took her own life as a result of online bullying. Psychologists are warning of an increase in mental health issues due to Twitter spats and Facebook fallouts. All too often angry social media posts and the resulting “unfriending” leaves a trail of broken relationships and hurt people.

For me the real tragedy is that Christians are often part of the problem rather than offering a solution. Some of the most acrimonious exchanges I have witnessed and experienced online have been with other believers. Christians who claim to follow the Jesus who instructed his disciples to “turn the other cheek” and “love their enemies” all too often hit back in kind when atheists mount venomous attacks on Christianity on social media.

This is a bad witness for Christ and we need to do better.

 In the 21st century if we are not “following” Christ through what we are posting on social media our discipleship is defective and deficient.

I recently saw a picture of Abraham Lincoln and below a quote that was attributed to him that read “YOU CAN’T TRUST EVERYTHING YOU READ ONLINE”

I doubt any of the Biblical authors who lived at the time when a quill, some ink and a scroll were cutting edge communication could ever have imagined social media. However, that doesn’t mean that they didn’t say anything relevant to us about what we say and how we say it on social media.

There is a short phrase from the Apostle Paul that I have adopted as a guide for my social media interactions. I am not there yet but this is an area the Lord is speaking me to about and I am committed to doing better.

Here is the phrase from Ephesians “speaking the truth in love

That simple phrase gives us a filter to help us decide what we post.


If it’s not both don’t post it!

IS IT TRUTHFUL?  … Its dismaying to see the number of Christians sharing unsubstantiated, bizarre and plain untruthful conspiracy theories online. Just don’t! I have also noticed made up quotes from historical figures being posted that make them say things they never did. I have challenged a few people on this, and the reply is usually something along the lines of well I think they did say it! I think what they really mean is that quote however inaccurate helps their argument or gives credibility to their opinion. If we can’t be certain its true, we shouldn’t post it and if we are shown that something we have posted is untrue we should delete it.

IS IT LOVING? …. Some of the most hurtful things that have ever been said to me have been true but they have wounded me because they have been said in such an unloving way. I think we all probably had that cliché repeated to us by our parents “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” Well the Word of God says to us “if you can’t say something in a loving way, don’t say it all.” and that should guide what we post.

We probably can’t stand in the way of the tsunami of acrimony on social media but by following Paul’s advice about speaking the truth in love, we can make sure we don’t add to it.

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