What’s on Your Mind?
What if the billion Facebook users all read what was on your mind? What if God read it? Is He concerned with what we post and say?
As of Oct. 4, there are approximately a billion active Facebook users worldwide. The social network site allows friends and family to connect from all points of the globe via the Internet. Within the site, people share their photos and their thoughts for their list of friends to see.
While some users tend to be careful of their words, there seems to be a trend in profane postings. Some users post whatever comes to mind without thinking about how it may offend people.
Facebook’s status bar asks the question “What’s on your mind?” As Christians, should we be concerned about what we post online for all to see?
Does God care?
A recent study published in The Guardian reveals that young people “are becoming increasingly narcissistic and obsessed with self-image and shallow friendships” and that some postings on Facebook reveal “self-absorption, vanity, superiority, and exhibitionist tendencies.”
What would God think of some of these postings? Does He care?
If Lamech had Facebook
Let’s take a look at an individual in the Bible. In Genesis 4:23, we find a man named Lamech. Now, let’s pretend that Facebook was around during his time. To take it further, let’s pretend we are on Lamech’s friend list and we see this post: “Listen to my speech! For I have killed a man for wounding me, even a young man for hurting me.”
Even though the Bible never reveals God’s reaction to this man’s speech, we can conclude that God would be opposed to his pride in a sinful act.
What would God want us to learn from Lamech in our world of technology? What does the Bible teach us in reference to our words?
Jesus Christ’s example
When Jesus Christ had to respond to the scribes and Pharisees about their traditions of washing hands, He made a lesson out of it. He said to His apostles: “Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:18-19).
Christ was revealing human carnality. We all tend to let things slip every once in a while. Yet if we are to be Christians (Christlike), what should we do? A better question might be, if Jesus Christ had a Facebook account, what would His posts be like?
Christians are commanded to be different. An important element of being like Jesus Christ is sound speech.
Notice Paul’s letter to Titus. He tells Titus “to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:7-8, emphasis added throughout).
We can conclude that Jesus Christ would be very careful about what He posted if He was on Facebook.
Paul further tells us in another epistle to “let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6). God is pleased in our attempts to be careful in what we say out loud or online. Not only is it pleasing to God, but it benefits people around us.
A good word
Solomon wisely put it, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” (Proverbs 12:25). Our words should be uplifting and positive rather than being unfiltered. We should not say whatever is on our mind.
James also warns Christians of the unbridled tongue: “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!” (James 3:5).
It’s hard to tell the direct effect of Lamech’s words, but we find that only two chapters later, God “saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Then God was “sorry that He had made mankind on the earth” (verse 6).
As Christ revealed in Matthew 15, Christians have to have a heart set according to God’s way (notice also 1 Chronicles 28:9). Such a heart, in turn, should cause our thoughts and words to be wholesome and encouraging.
Whether it is online or in person, let us be those of sound speech and good words!
For more on our words, see the section on “The Joys and Challenges of Communication.”