I’ve been writing a blog for almost 11 years now. I started writing a blog back in 2007 to chronicle Teresa and my adventures in church planting. I used the blog server Blogspot. I’ve been writing this blog in WordPress for a few years now. My goal in writing down my thoughts is to be able to sleep at night (writing helps me slow my brain down so I can rest) and to share my thoughts on the Bible, Theology, Ministry, and encourage fellow Christians in their faith walk.
In this post, I’d like to encourage everyone to be mindful of your cyber footprint. We live in a day where you can share your thoughts in any social media site; be it FaceBook, LinkedIn, Snap Chat, etc. When I started writing in 2007, I came across a fellow Church Planter who wrote a blog. I enjoyed his writings and read his blog once or twice week depending on when he wrote a new post. One day he shared some ground rules he used in how he governed his blog posts. I’ve tried to use them in my blog posts. I think the ground rules he uses in his blog writings would and should be used in any social media posts.
The first rule he shared is keep your thoughts positive. For me, it’s easy to keep my blog post positive because I have a goal or purpose for writing it. I wish I could say the same with my FaceBook posts in 2016. First of all-as a Christian-we represent Christ in all we do and say (or write). 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “. . . we are ambassadors for Christ . . .” According to Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary, an ambassador is an authorized representative or messenger. As a Christian, we are told to go and share the gospel to others. We are an authorized messenger of the Great King so we should govern our behavior and our speech accordingly. A friend of mind is a retired Army Major. He enlisted and went up through the ranks becoming an officer. He would be in meetings with generals. In these meetings, he would represent his general so the others listened to him accordingly because what he was saying they knew as coming from a fellow general. His words had power not because it came from him but because it was coming for his general. Our words and actions have power because we represent a powerful God.
The second rule is know what you want to say. Before you go on a trip, you plan out the journey. If you don’t, how do you know if you made it or not? If you don’t plan out what you want to say in a blog post ahead of time, you go on and on about any and everything. In preaching or speaking, we call this going down rabbit holes or rabbit trails. You go from covering one topic and end up on a different one if your thoughts aren’t planned well. Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” This rule helps in writing and speaking but also in posting your thoughts on social media. Knowing what you are trying to say ahead of time will help prevent having your thoughts misinterpreted. Be clear and precise.
The last rule he shared was know your audience. I know my audience in this blog is mainly those who are Christians or interested in growing in their knowledge of Christianity. If you are like me, you social media friends (FaceBook), connects (LinkedIn), and followers (Twitter) are made up of likeminded and other. Not everyone has the same views and opinions. Social media is not the place to discuss thoughts and opinions anymore. At one time maybe but in our current culture thoughts can divide more than unite. It’s sad but true. Knowing who is on your feed will or should dictate how you post and reply back. As a Christian, we are to speak truth in all matter. Ephesians 4:15 says, “. . . but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” Writing and saying something with love enables a person to hear the truth you are trying to share.
The 3 rules I shared in this blog helped me in writing my blog. I wish I could say I used these in my social media feeds more than I do. Since I’m writing about this, I want to say I am working on it. My last thoughts on the cyber footprint is what I use in my social media dealings now. I write now, because it’s been maybe 3 months since I’ve used these rules for social media.
Rule #1: How will my thoughts be taken? I know you can’t please everyone, but we must ask ourselves, do my thoughts please God? Ephesians 4:29 says, “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.”
Rule #2: Will my post unity or divide? As an American, we have liberty to say what we want. We have the First Amendment on our side. As a mature Christian, we must be mindful of those younger in the faith than we and even consider the unchristian who may read our post. Romans 14:1-23 says, “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind…”
I hope this post gave you food for thought. The reason I feel it’s time for such a post is because an event I experienced this past weekend. My family visited a great church where I was able to preach and meet with fellow believers. In meeting and speaking with a group of the church’s leadership, I was told a story that broke my heart. The former pastor shared some thoughts on a topic and ended it with abbreviations that offended some people. When they shared their thoughts back, he blew them off creating issues for the church he had left. I know every one of us are human and struggle with our own thoughts and opinions but I want you to take a moment before posting and reply to a post and ask yourself the above questions.
I think for most of us (and that includes me) that our cyber footprint doesn’t always glorify God. That is our main purpose in life is to being honor to our God. I’m praying about it and working on improving my social media cyber footprint. Please pray about it on your end. God Bless.