“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:19–21
Outrage culture rules the day in media consumption. It doesn’t seem that a week goes by where the media hasn’t curated for us another scenario to be consumed by. Social media is no exception. Whatever platform you are on, it seems that everyone is up in arms about something. And they want you to know about it.
That’s not to say that there aren’t things to be outraged by. We ought to be outraged when the Lord’s name is slandered. We ought to be outraged when the innocent and defenseless are butchered. We ought to be outraged against heinous evil. But with regards to social media, I’m afraid that we don’t quite realize what we’re doing when we say the things we say.
Social media is inherently communicative. Every post, every tweet, every blog is a proclamation. Every time you post on social media you are making a public statement regarding something. Every time you post on social media, you are standing up before a crowd and declaring your opinion on something. Social media is not private, it is public—shouting-from-the-street-corner kind of public.
Recently I have been convicted with regards to my own social media consumption and posting. The Bible is not silent on how we ought to speak with one another. To develop a theology of speaking would be far too extensive for this prayer letter; however, in light of the James passage above, I have begun to ask myself the following questions. I would encourage you to join me in asking the same.
- Is this something the Bible calls us to be outraged about?
- To what extent should you join in on the outrage?
- Have you been “slow to anger” over the issue you are posting?
- To what extent are you being “quick to hear, slow to speak” in posting?
- When you post on social media, have you done due diligence to gather the facts/wait for the facts to come to light?
- Are you displaying filthiness and rampant wickedness in your post?
- In posting, are you positioning yourself to humbly receive “the implanted word”?
- Would you be willing to speak this post to someone’s face, especially if it is concerning them?
- To what extent are you posting about a subject matter because you’re passionate about it from God’s Word or to what extent are you posting it because everyone else is?
Before you post your next post, consider praying and asking the Lord for wisdom about what you are speaking. In fact, I would encourage you to stop using social media for a week (or a month) in order to evaluate your use of it.
Assistant Professor of Bible & Theology
- Pray that God would help our students, alumni, faculty, and staff to communicate winsomely, wisely, effectively in social media in a way that honors Christ.
- Pray that God would give us much grace as we prepare for celebrating the past ten years of God’s faithfulness to us at our Decennial Convocation.
- Pray that our communications team continue to be faithful to the Lord as we continue to engage with prospective students, parents, donors, and other friends of the school.
- Pray that the Lord would continue to provide Serious Joy Scholarships for this year’s students.