What We Say On Facebook Matters

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

People often get very brave on social media. Since they aren't standing toe-to-toe with those with whom they are speaking, they feel much more compelled to share the bolder portions of their minds. And who am I kidding? That includes me too!

As a lover of words, I enjoy typing out how I feel and what I think. I love the idea that I can make a difference and speak boldly for the truth. And that is the beautiful thing about blogs and social media: I can make a positive difference.

But there is also such a thing as our words mattering in a very bad way. We always think of "what we say matters" in a way that makes us feel significant, but what about when what we say is hurtful to others, selfish or prideful? What happens when our words misconstrue someone's thoughts or ideas and or belittle them?

Responsible

You see, if we as Christians say something rude or ungodly, we are held accountable for that. When we reach the day of judgement, we will not only be held accountable for lying, stealing, and the like, but we will also be accountable for every childish, impure, and self-possessed comment we make on Facebook. God see's every prideful remark and every unjustified argument. No, God is looking to smite us for every instance we do this, but we will be held accountable. Social media is not a free pass to sin, to be a jerk, or to act like a child- though many treat it as such.

When we hop on the internet, though we are hiding behind a screen, we are still representatives for Christ. Our words hold weight and meaning, and we make a difference- whether for good or for bad. And whether you are a Christian or not, it is so very true that your words hold weight and matter very deeply. As a Christian, it matters to me because of my love for Christ, but whether you love Christ, hate him, or feel indifferent, the issue of what we say mattering is equally real for all of us. We all hold the power to lift someone up in encouragement, or tear them down in harshness.


Building Up Instead

I have really made some terrible mistakes over the years using either social media or even texting. I have felt brave and spoken out in anger, which resulted in hurting or offending another person. It doesn't matter what platform we use- we are still just as responsible and it still matters deeply.


Ephesians 4:29-30 says this, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."


You see, when we speak inappropriately, we are grieving the Holy Spirit of God because we were made for good and pure and admirable things. We were not made to bring negativity, hurt, and sorrow into the world. And with such a vast array of ways to speak inappropriately, we must constantly guard ourselves. Some people feel that this type of living would make them a punching bag, but that isn't how it works. 

It is ok to speak tough truths. It's ok to stand up for ourselves. It is ok to speak our mind. But in most cases, we need only do these things in love, kindness, and gentleness. We have to stop this idea that we have to be as loud, as brash, and as bold as we can. Truth doesn't need to be screamed- it only needs to be spoken. Tough love doesn't need to be an attack- but rather a kind word spoken calmly.



Don't be afraid to speak your mind, but be very aware of the way in which you are doing so. Will this help or hurt the cause of Christ? Will this strengthen our friendships or deteriorate them? Will this build up or tear down? Those are the questions we need to ask ourselves before sounding the loud trumpet of our opinions on social media.

What do you think? Have you ever been slapped in the face by your own social media presence? What would you change for next time?





55 comments

  1. This is a great post and I agree with you completely! I believe it is important to remember the kindness and compassion of Christ when interacting on social media. - Trish

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  2. This is such a great great point! Thanks so much for sharing with us. I'm going to share this on social media!

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  3. I absolutely agree! People are willing to say anything on Social media, but we need to remember who we really are and that our word reflect that.

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  4. What a great post! It's so easy for people to speak their minds when they are just an anonymous online personality, but what they say can have profound impact. I will keep this verse close to my heart today. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Definitely! Thank you so much for reading!

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  5. I agree. I used to be quick to type something in anger or hurt, but I've changed my ways. I may still type something up, but let myself calm down and think before I post or send. Most of the time, I just delete.

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    1. Yes! It's easy to send something rude, but that can never be taken back. I've been there too!

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  6. Thank you for writing this post! I'm glad that you are aware of the topic. Sometimes I have to delete something or rethink the way I worded something because we are called to be lights in this world and if we just post whatever we want it can definitely hurt out testimony! I love what you wrote "Social media is not a free pass to sin, to be a jerk, or to act like a child- though many treat it as such." Truth.

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    1. Thank you, Natalie! I have fallen short in this area, so I know what harsh words can do. I want everyone to realize that and work on it- myself included.

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  7. "Truth doesn't need to be screamed- it only needs to be spoken. Tough love doesn't need to be an attack- it must be a kind word spoken calmly." AMEN, sister! A+ post! Love your heart. Always encouraging and challenging me!

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    1. I definitely had no idea I didn't reply to this!
      Thank you so much for your kind words!

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  8. This is so true! People don't realize that whatever is posted on the Internet, let alone Facebook, is out there for everyone to see and can't really go away!

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  9. You speak so much truth. The way in which things are said is so important. We should be honest but cautious in how we say things-especially online where tone and inflection are not available.

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  10. I definitely need this reminder. I tend to forget that whatever I type is the same as if it is coming out of my mouth, and sometimes I don't represent Christ well. Thanks for this encouragement!

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    1. Glad it was encouraging to you, Annie! It can be difficult to follow sometimes, but totally worth it!

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  11. This is such a great post! Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Love this post! I agree, Facebook is a place where many people speak their mind without thinking about the repercussions.

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  13. As a career and business coach, people definitely forget the impact their words and behavior on social media have on their bigger picture... They think they can just "Delete" it but with screen shots and everything things usually come back to haunt you. Great perspective.

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    1. Oh man! I bet that has an even bigger impact on you as a coach. Yeah, we can't just erase hurt or offense we've caused.

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  14. This is a great message! Choosing kindness when expressing an opinion is the best way, even when hiding behind a screen.

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  15. I'm right there with you on needing to watch what we say on social media! People can be such jerks and many Christians are hurting the name of Christ by their words.

    I would hesitate to say, though, that we'll be held accountable for it when we get to Heaven. I wrote about this in my guest post that's going live for you tomorrow but I think that's a harmful sentiment to say. Absolutely YES it's a sin but, if we're covered by the blood of Jesus, we're going to be viewed as perfect - just as Christ is perfect - when we get to Heaven. Obviously that's not saying that God doesn't hate sin or that we should just go commit every sin we want since we're viewed as perfect but Christ has paid for our sins so God's not also going to demand that we pay for them... Just something I'm passionate about! :-)

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    1. I definitely appreciate what you are saying, and I agree that we are viewed as perfect because of Christ, but I still think we will be called out for our careless words (Matthew 12:36). It's not that I think we will be punished, but I think God will show us fully the wrong of our words and how that wasn't pleasing to Him. Not punishment, just being completely aware. I think we can be "held accountable" without being punished. Kind of like when I was a kid and my mom wouldn't ground me, but she would talk to be about it and show me the error of my ways.
      But I totally get what you are saying. It is only by grace that we are saved, and nothing needs/can be added to that. But sometimes people use that as a free pass to say/do whatever they want because of that grace, and that is never ok. "They will know us by our fruit". :)

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    2. I totally agree that Grace is NEVER a free pass! I also agree that once we get to Heaven we'll have the full knowledge of how horrible our sin was because we'll finally understand what true perfection and holiness is! I don't at all think that it will be God who will be doing anything about the sin, though. In that passage in Matthew Jesus is talking to the Pharisees, men who pretended to be of God but truly weren't. The words of which he is speaking is referring to speaking against the Holy Spirit and isn't the same as other sinful words spoken, even words again Jesus (vs 32). If God is going to hold us at all accountable for what we did on earth then Jesus' sacrifice wasn't enough. I believe Jesus' sacrifice WAS enough to cover EVERYTHING. We are viewed as righteous through the blood of the Lamb. Once again, that's NOT a free pass to do whatever we want because that's not what we're called to do in our Christian walk. :-) Obviously I don't know everything about God or what His doings or plans are but when I look at His character, when I read the Bible, and when I come to understand His Grace better this is what I have come to believe. We may absolutely get to Heaven and you may be right... Who knows. :-)

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    3. Yeah, I wish I could think of the references to the other scriptures that lead me to believe that, but of course I can't now that we are in the conversation ;)
      But yes, I am not an expert either. Either of us could be right, and I think that the important part is that we believe in Jesus for our forgiveness, and we know that grace isn't a free pass. :)

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  16. I love this! It's always a good reminder to focus on building each other up instead of tearing each other down (which is the easier of the two). Great post!

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    1. Thank you, Cara! I agree. It's easier to tear down sometimes, but that doesn't mean we should give in.

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  17. Such a great reminder. I, too, have written things that have been hurtful. The truth definitely needs to be spoken, but it must be spoken in love. I so appreciate Christ's example of being both honest and loving toward people.

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    1. Me too! People usually think that it's one or the other- that you aren't being loving if you speak hard truths, and vice versa- but Jesus didn't see it that way!

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  18. I love this, and totally agree! I am sometimes shocked by what people will put on social media. I think it's crazy that so many people forget that what they say does matter and impacts others. Great reminders, great post!

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    1. Exactly! And at some point we all have or probably will be guilty of this, but we have to do our best to keep ourselves from that.

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  19. Particularly as a blogger and person who is fairly involved with social media--I do reflect on what I write, and the kind of reflection that my words make on Christ, who I follow. I seek to be calm, kind, and joy-filled both in real life and on social media--I particularly have a rule about never complaining in writing, and it's served me well over the years.

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    1. Yes! I admit that I occasionally get too heated and react too fast on Facebook. I've rarely said anything mean, but I have said things that were better left unsaid. I want to always represent Christ well!

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  20. This is very true. As a blogger and because I'm involved with social media, I am always aware that my words represent me and that I ought always to represent Christ. In real life and online, I strive to be calm, kind, and joy-filled. It's a habit that has served me well.

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  21. I think so manny people forget this! It is important to remember that all of our words matter and have an effect on those who read them.

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    1. Yes! And it's easy to push that out of our minds if we are mad or sad, but the truth is, we still are responsible for our own actions, regardless of what others do or say.

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  22. This is so true! I absolutely love this article, I'm sharing it on Facebook!

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    1. Thank you so much, Marci! I appreciate that a lot!

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  23. This is such a great post! And it's all so true! We have so much power in what we speak (and type!) and most people forget that. You can't see the effect your words have on someone from the other side of a screen. We need to remember who we are representing when we are both face to face with others and when we're in front of a computer. Speak life!

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    1. Exactly, Sarah! I definitely believe that too! It's so easy to get caught up in the moment when a post makes you angry, but we still have to control ourselves!
      Thanks for reading!

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  24. Great post! I completely agree with you! Facebook makes me so frustrated sometimes when I scroll through the comments, especially on news stories or other things that might be more controversial. People are so mean to each other! It's really sad. I'm always tempted to write back but I do my best to avoid it.

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    1. I feel the same way, Christy! And sometimes I do cave and say something, but the effect is rarely helpful.

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  25. Amen! I think so many times we all forget that we'll be held accountable for our words. They really matter! As it says in Proverbs, "The power of life and death is in the tongue." I confess I haven't been choosing life enough, and I need to work on it.

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    1. I'm right there with you! Let's keep at it!

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  26. What a great reminder. I can't say exactly were it is in the bible but he tells us not to cause another man to stumble. When we speak negative things it can cause others to stumble.

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    1. Yes! So true! That is an good point!

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  27. I think about this often because I feel like so many people are quick to be offended and to jump to conclusions and assumptions on social media and such a good thing can turn become negative so fast! I try to always think about what I post and how I respond to other things. I've just started unfollowing people who post things that make me want to immediate respond with nasty comments; it's easier if I just don't see it! Love your intention behind this post!

    xo, Chelsie @ Hey There, Chelsie

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  28. Truth! The main reason I first went on FB was to be an encourager. Sometimes I forget that. Thanks for the reminder.

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