A Call to Believers: Behavior and Discipline in Media

How can you be disciplined in the use of media? This includes texting, posting on social media, writing emails, or simply talking or texting with people on cell phones or tablets, or video in a variety of forms. My last post covered a biblical call to social contact, which is part of the subject. This post covers biblical guidance for the content of communications on electronic media. Why? Because most content on social media today disregards biblical guidance for behavior. The Bible provides the best guidance for the believer if we would choose to believe it. In this day it is especially needed since so many posts are harmful, reflect untrue or non-verified information, falsely accuse, amount to gossip, or display ungodly matter.

Consider that the Father proclaimed His being pleased with the Son when He was baptized in the River Jordan, which was before His purpose and public ministry was unveiled. On what basis was this said? Jesus was the eldest son and a carpenter by trade for well over a decade. How did he treat, talk, and speak of clients? Perfectly. Which means years of interaction with people without error or sin. He is our example.

During public ministry, did he decry the Roman government? Did He gossip? Did He relay false information? Did He look and complain about plots against Him? Did He entertain ungodly actions? Of course not. What about the apostles doctrine? Was there room in their behavior to falsely accuse, spread gossip, and foment insurrection as part of the Gospel? I think not. The Word is solid and for our instruction regarding all forms of communication today in the electronic world. God seriously observes our behavior and attitudes, whether they be face to face or electronic in nature.

What about today’s media? Headlines often do not reflect the content and are usually inflammatory. Content is sometimes factual and verified but often not. Opinions are often presented as fact. The words used are often extreme. None of this is surprising, but too many believers approach social media posting and texting the same way. Even when we don’t say something but pass links or other information that is improper, do you think that God does not notice? We need to talk about this, and parents or teachers need to talk about it with children. There is an additional reason: one of the greatest avenues of sin for children through older adults is via electronic media, especially the cell phone. And, God sees. We are without excuse.

Can I suggest better ways to write or post? It is really quite straight forward. Whether we are passionate about an issue or excited, it is a really good time to post with deliberate carefulness as a believer in Christ, knowing that the Holy Spirit within us is listening and watching our words. How do we express ourselves? If you would not say something as His personal representative, then why would you say it at all?

If you know these things to be true, then cease writing in any other spirit other than the Spirit of Christ, if you so claim to follow Him. The same should hold true for another post or link that you wish to spread abroad. So if others make unsubstantiated claims, contain anger or gossip, accuse falsely, or claim as true things that you cannot clearly verify, do not post them.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, post wisdom, post biblically-based truths that encourage and guide. If you express an opinion about an issue, do so with meekness and sound words. Would that not please our Lord? If a moral issue is at stake, it is even more important to use sound speech and wisdom. Even if your are just chatting, the same guidance applies.

Some references to check and put in front of you before you read, text, post, or talk on any kind of media:

Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 4:6, Matthew 15:11, Proverbs 15:1-2, Psalm 141:3, Proverbs 15:4, Ephesians 5:4, Matthew 12:36, James 1:19 and 3:9-10

Some references for what you choose to see and watch:

Matthew 6:22-23, 1 John 2:15-16, Philippians 4:8, Job 31:1, Psalm 101:3

How can you do all of this correctly? The answer is simple: you cannot without the help of God. That is why salvation is grace. Having called upon Him to help and returning to Him often in our walk (working out that precious salvation) is so necessary.

What sins are brought to the forefront when you realize these truths: sexual immorality, sensual behavior of any kind, hatred and jealousy in many forms, unrighteous judgement, greed for things, rebellion against authority, false accusation or accusation without proof, idle tales or promoting false stories, and the like. They are all covered in the Bible.

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