I am having some significant social media struggles. I love seeing pictures of families, connecting with friends, sharing difficulties. It is a way for me to stay in touch with folks near and far, provide encouragement and express condolences. Yet, there is a phrase that I heard constantly growing up from dad that keeps ringing in my ears, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
So, where is the struggle? The divisive memes, negative tone, and demeaning posts are exhausting. As much as try to scroll past them, sometimes I get sucked into the content. I find myself wanting to argue my point. I find myself harboring negative feelings towards people I love. I used to be able to have a difference of opinion with someone without it changing my sense of care for them. What has changed?
So here is my social media struggle. Many posts are created to get a reaction out of us. They intend to create anger, arguments and division. They take us to extremes often perpetuating false information. We reply in anger. We repost in anger. All adding to the division. At what point do we say enough? At what point do we look at our own actions and think about how it contributes to or divides our family and friends.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)
I didn’t realize until I was an adult that Dad was teaching me scripture, and there is more.
Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. (Proverbs 8:6 NIV)
Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3 NIV)
We are so certain that we are right that we have forgotten the guidance given in scripture, and I have only shared a few. There are more. In fact, the division and divisiveness we spread on social media is the opposite of the character of Christ.
My social media struggles continue as I try to renegotiate how I interact with the platforms. I want to be an example of the character of Christ. I want my words to build bridges not tear apart. I want to focus on my love for others not our differences of opinion.
God, please guide every word that comes out of my mouth or is typed by my hands. Let them be the words you would say. Let them bring others closer to you, and continue to humble my heart every time I fall short.
Do you struggle with social media? Is it causing division in important relationship? How are you clinging to the example of Christ? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.