Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Eph 4:29
There aren’t many alumni of Georgia Southern University from the 80s and 90s who don’t know Brother Jim. Every year or two, usually in the spring, Brother Jim would show up on campus and “preach.” A more accurate assessment would be that he would show up and spew venomous vitriol and insult all who passed by. He said he was preaching the gospel, but really he was trying to get people to assault him so that he could sue them.
Brother Jim was a real problem for Christ followers on campus. He did much to harm the witness of believers by claiming he was a Christian. By calling people sluts, whores, whoremongers, and worse, he gave non-believers and skeptics all the ammunition they needed to distance themselves from the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, I believe many Christ-followers are inadvertently doing the same thing online. It would be easy to say that my Facebook and Twitter feed has been filled with incendiary posts for the last week, but it has actually been that way much longer. Some of it is understandable as I have many “friends” and “followers/people I follow” who are not believers. More and more often lately, I have been appalled by the posts of Christ followers.
It really doesn’t matter the issue: Trump vs. Hillary, Women’s Rights, Abortion, Gay Marriage, Islamic Terrorism, Israel, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, IMB, Calvinism, Traditionalism, Gluten, Exercise, and on and on. For some reason, many Christians have bought in to the notion that the right to freedom of expression is a mandate to expressing every thought, feeling, and fear.
Paul reminds us in Ephesians that we represent Christ in the world. We must confront the evil in the world in a manner that shows grace and love. Remember how Jesus responded when the crowd brought the adulterous woman to him. The Pharisees were testing Him, but Jesus replied, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” John 8:7. Though Jesus could have thrown the stone, he responded with love and forgiveness.
We are to be ambassadors for Christ to this world. In essence, we are to act, speak, and live as Jesus so that the world will know the difference between the sinful flesh and the loving Savior. Let me encourage you to extend that Christlikeness to your social media presence. Show God’s love and mercy in all that you post.