Turn Your Filter On Before You Post

FilterOnGraphic

This is my third post about social media use as Jesus-followers that was inspired by the book, “What Would Jesus Post?” by Brian D. Wassom. {Affiliate link.} You can read the book review and Using Your Social Media Powers for Good if you missed those.

At first glance, this principle seems like a “no brainer.” You might be like I am: someone who doesn’t use curse words, doesn’t post inappropriate or controversial things, doesn’t gossip, and doesn’t get caught up in debates. I figured that was good enough and didn’t think too much deeper about it. However, God has been working on my heart to check my motives with each post and to consider and love others better.

In the book, Brian points out how the social media companies want you to engage in unfiltered posts/conversations so they can make money off you. These companies have marketing firms paying them big bucks to find out demographics and what products people like or don’t like. Social media companies are very valuable for all the data they can collect. If not for some of its benefits, social media could be construed as a big collaborative marketing racket.

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about our words. The verses that refer to speech should be included in looking at social media because that is our “platform” from which we virtually “speak.” (Proverbs is full of verses about speech and using our words.)

SlowtoSpeakverse

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”
James 1:19 (NIV)

I have sort-of adopted this verse lately for social media. I’ve decreased my own personal posts (slow to speak), and spent more time in my newsfeed reading others’ posts (quick to listen). I don’t usually have a problem with getting angry, but rather I am making sure that my comments on others’ posts are kind, compassionate, loving and encouraging.

“He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding has a cool spirit. Even a fool when he holds his peace is considered wise; when he closes his lips he is esteemed a man of understanding.”
Proverbs 17:27-28 (AMP)

“The lips of the [uncompromisingly] righteous know [and therefore utter] what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked knows [and therefore speaks only] what is obstinately willful and contrary.”
Proverbs 12:32 (AMP)

“Therefore, if [my eating a] food is a cause of my brother’s falling or of hindering [his spiritual advancement], I will not eat [such] flesh forever, lest I cause my brother to be tripped up and fall and to be offended.”
1 Corinthians 8:13 (AMP)

“But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak. For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced.”
Matthew 12:36-37 (AMP)

Throughout the Bible, we’re instructed to think before we speak, not having a loose tongue, and being snared by the words of our mouth. Also, we’re not to cause a fellow Jesus-follower to stumble or be offended. God sees everything you post. This all applies to what we share through typing words online.

Causing the Maximum Amount of Good

When I do make personal posts, here are the guidelines I’ve started following:

  • Checking motives ~ this means checking my heart to make sure I’m not posting something that would be “bragging” or flaunting what I have been blessed with. To make sure my heart isn’t looking for a “pat on the back” or recognition for something, deriving self-worth from others. To make sure I’m not getting into comparisons. To make sure I’m not just trying to promote myself, but to pray that my words bless someone.
  • Considering others ~ this means putting myself in other people’s shoes and considering their feelings. It could mean something like not mentioning the heated seats in my four-wheel-drive SUV, when I have friends who are driving around “clunkers” that they’re praying will keep running through the winter. It could mean not inundating my timeline with photos of my kids when I have friends who are struggling with infertility and miscarriage. (I’ve been there, so I know how that feels.) It could even mean not talking about sports teams, which could ruffle up a die-hard fan of a rival team. (Let alone topics about politics and theology.) It means keeping peace and unity.
  • Loving others ~ this means uplifting and encouraging others. It means sharing from your heart, keeping it real, but positive. It’s being helpful with knowledge, sharing with understanding, being objective with opinions, and keeping a purpose to bless others. At the core, it’s making things more about others and less about you.

I have posted things where I’m looking for recognition and I’m guilty of clicking into Facebook every two minutes after I post something just to watch the “likes” add up. That’s for sure not the way we’re supposed to be.

My vehicle, my favorite teams, spending the summer lounging by the pool…it all seems innocent on the surface. But it can come across as bragging or making others feel jealous, envious, sad, discouraged, resentful, and “less than.” And let’s face it, these things don’t make a positive difference in the lives of others or for eternity. I’m not saying it’s wrong to live in real life with those things, but to take it to the next step, feeling a need to splash it out to friends around the globe is senseless…at least that’s where God has convicted me.

Here’s a tip: on most social media sites, you can make lists (Facebook & Twitter), hidden boards (Pinterest), and circles (Google+), so that if you want to post about something that you know only certain ones of your friends will be interested in, you can set it up so that only those friends will see what you post on those subjects. A simple example, for a sports fan, would be to put all your friends who root for the same sports team as you on a list so that before/during/after the game when you want to post about it, only those who care and are of like mind will see it. (On Facebook, I have it set up so that my entire friends list sees less than half of what I post!)

It is much better to build people up, to make an actual difference in their lives, or even their day, to forge bonds and paths that may lead to an eternal difference, than to let the unimportant take up space or cause others to stumble in our online lives.

So instead of impulsively posting things, who’s with me, determining to turn on our filters and think before we post? Even if it means we post less often, that’s maybe the point.

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