Social Media affects everything. It is everywhere in our world:
- at home,
- at the store,
- at school,
- at restaurants,
- at work, and
- in our pockets.
Social media is with us and around us all the time. The truth is…IT IS AFFECTING US! But how? The social media gurus want us to think that social media is strictly positive, and great for everyone and everything. They want us to think that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and texting) are all about building relationships and passing on information.
But is social media really causing us to relate more and give good information? If we are honest with ourselves, I think we can all say we have at least once felt, that while we are overly connected by social media, there is still an underlying feeling of being alone, depressed, and unconnected. In light of this reality, we are in the middle of a five week study here at Preacherontherun to examine how social media affects us. We are looking at five areas in which social media affects our views: relationships, words, time, self, and truth. Today we continue with Social Media: How it affects our view of Words.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but…WORDS will never hurt me.” We have all sung that song or had it told to us when we were upset or hurt because of something someone said. Unfortunately, the truth that song purports really isn’t truth…it is a lie! Words can/do hurt and they have great power. James 3:5-10 tells us that the tongue is “small yet it boasts of great things” and that it is “a fire, a world of unrighteousness…staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of the life…” Those are some powerful words. These verses and many others throughout Proverbs reveal the truth about and power of the tongue.
In real life when we are face to face with people, we will rarely say pointed or harsh truths without padding them with some sort of love, affection, and encouragement. However, when we get on social media, it seems as if the rules no longer apply. One example of this is the Seattle Seahawk’s cornerback, Richard Sherman’s, interview after the Seahawks won in the NFC championship game. Sherman essentially smash talked a receiver from the 49ers and inevitably made some remarks that he later regretted. The worse part is, that he was on live TV as well as being recorded all over the world. So within minutes the clip was on Youtube, and what Sherman said could not be taken back. It was out there for all to see because of social media. He could not retract it, edit it, or delete it, because others had the video in their hands; so all he could do was watch and apologize later. That is just one of many examples of how social media affects our view of words. People can lose their job over something they post on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Worse yet, people can and have been sued because of what they put on Facebook and Twitter. But our world does not like that. The social media sites want us to think that what we put there is our property and no one can do anything about it. But it is public and therefore we are to be held accountable for it.
As believers God holds us to high standards in our speech and words. Ephesians 4:29 states, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”. Why do we think that this command from God does not apply to social media?
But some people with social media will say, “It’s not against the law to speak my mind and let my thoughts be known”. This is true, but listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor”. Is that the attitude we have when we post on Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube?
This is not merely a matter of preference or even respect, but of understanding where we will be standing one day! “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36). Every word they speak! And God said that His written Bible is His word. So He will hold us to the same standard. Our writing is synonymous with our speaking.
As I argued from the beginning, social media affects everything. And one of the major areas of our lives and thinking it affects is our words. Social media has changed the way we speak with and about one another. But the final question must be: are we utilizing our social media to build up others and proclaim Jesus Christ or just to get our opinion out there? Stop by next week where we will discuss how Social Media affects our view on time. In case you missed it Social Media: How it affects us (Relationships) you can find it here.