For all the good that social media brings, it could be argued that it brings equally as many (if not more) negatives. While claiming to be a platform to connect people, social media probably does more to isolate and divide people. Additionally, what could be an effective tool for the mass spread of information is instead often used as a tool to spread misinformation (a.k.a. “fake news”).
Beyond that, social media is usually at the center of someone losing their job or reputation because of something that they posted for all of the world to see. According to many different online articles, care should be used when posting online because of the consequences that can occur as a result. But you don’t have to read an article to know that – you’ve certainly seen it play out before your own eyes.
Each of the articles listed that online posts are permanent and do not age well, are often used by employers to check on your story when you call in sick to work, and are often used by educational institutions to decide between one candidate student or another. In other words, whether right or wrong, your public profiles are used to incriminate you, costing you scholarships, jobs, and/or your reputation.
But of all the reasons listed for why one should be careful about what they post online, each of those online articles left off the most important reason of all. That reason? The reason Jesus gives in Matthew 12:36-37…“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
As Christians, we must not only be careful about what we post online because of the ramifications for our life here on earth – but especially because of the ramifications for the eternal life hereafter. Even though we may never speak certain words with our lips, we are equally responsible for the words which we will have typed with our fingers.
Furthermore, we would do well to think about what we are saying when we click the “Like” or “Share” buttons. Even with the click of the mouse, we are using words (“like” or “love”) to communicate approval or admiration of something. At the day of judgment, will Jesus approve of us having shown approval for things that are sinful? Ponder Romans 1:32. When we click “Share” without checking into the legitimacy of the story, are we not treading into the territory of spreading falsehoods? Perhaps even gossip or slander?
Another problem with social media is that it gives a voice to people who have no business having a voice on certain matters. We’ve all witnessed the “Average Joe” become an epidemiologist or an economist overnight. But even more than that, social media gives people confidence to say things to people that they would never say to their face. Oftentimes, these people are known as “keyboard warriors.”
Perhaps you are one who tends to allow social media to empower you to say things that you would not normally say in person. If that is the case, perhaps it would be wise to handle social media in your life the way Jesus said to handle an eye or hand that causes you to sin – get rid of it (Matthew 5:29-30). The important question is this: are you willing to exchange eternal life to use social media on earth (if it causes you to sin)?
We should give careful attention to this. This is not something that we can just ignore and sweep under the rug as something that is inconsequential. For if we don’t heed this warning, we too will be left off a list – the list of names in the book of Life (Luke 10:20; Revelation 20:15). A prayer to pray: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).