Social media is a wonderful resource, an outlet for wit and wisdom, a means to connect with people one would never have met otherwise. It is a means to get news and share information wider and faster than ever before. I even got my current job through social media connections!
It is also where common sense and decency go to die. The same means that help me connect with new friends in South Africa and read real time updates of happenings in Ferguson, MO enable thoughtless people to spew hatred, lunacy, and general stupidity just as far just as fast.
How can we be sure we are using it in a wise and helpful way? Wisdom from God’s word is a good start, and no book has more practical wisdom than Proverbs. One of the miraculous aspects to scripture is how something written on papyrus in the middle east 3,000 years ago applies to you on your iPhone in middle America today. Here are 15 proverbs with direct application for how we should use social media.
1) Proverbs 10:19 – When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
Restraint. Holding back. Minding your words. A good reminder for all of us who love to spout off.
2) Proverbs 11:2 – When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
In an atmosphere where our opinions deserves everyone’s ear and we can speak on any issue pride is ever present. And that means disgrace is too.
3) Proverbs 11:12 – Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.
Who lacks sense? He who belittles. Who shows understanding? The one who is silent. So simple, yet so difficult.
4) Proverbs 12:18 – There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Rash: thoughtless, unconsidered. How often do we fire off a post without thinking? And when we do it’s a stab to someone, either intentionally or otherwise. But there’s an alternative.
5) Proverbs 12:23 – A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims folly.
The more we post, the faster we post, the less prudent we are. We reveal our lack of knowledge and speak into what we ought not. It would be wiser to hold back.
6) Proverbs 14:29 – Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Do you really need to respond to that post? Do you need to do it now? Why don’t you sleep on it. Or at least take a lunch break.
7) Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
So you decided you must respond, huh? Well, do it like this. It will go better.
8) Proverbs 19:11 – Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
You know what’s not your glory? That biting, excoriation of a post. Swallow your anger. It tastes bitter but is good medicine.
9) Proverbs 22:24 – Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man.
It’s almost like Solomon was thinking of Facebook . . .
10) Proverbs 23:9 – Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words.
Makes you wonder if you should post anything ever. If you do, don’t be surprised at the responses you receive.
11) Proverbs 26:4 – Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.
And when you receive those responses keep this in mind: arguing with an idiot just makes you one too.
12) Proverbs 26:17 – Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.
Think of the dog as a pit bull. With foam coming out of it’s mouth. Off its leash. That’s right; mind your own business.
13) Proverbs 26:20 – For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
In this case, the wood is a house fire, already raging. It needs to be put out not have us pouring gasoline on it.
14) Proverbs 29:9 – If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
When you get in an argument with a social media fool (read: troll) he enjoys it and you will find no peace or satisfaction.
15) Proverbs 29:11 – A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
Just because we can post it doesn’t mean we must. Ask “why?” then be sure you have a really good answer before posting