Everyone has an opinion. Nowadays it is easy to make that opinion public knowledge. Social media allows us to share our thoughts, ideas, and views on everything with the click of a mouse and possibly a few key strokes. Over the past month, my heart breaks as I read people posting their opinions on topics of which they know nothing.
Frequently we simply parrot what our favorite media site says is true. We share Facebook posts that sound accurate without having much information. Every day people are forming opinions about things of which they have little to no information.
Reading a few opinion posts this morning led me to change my writing plan to address this topic. Here are some things to think about before you share that next story.
1. NOT EVERYTHING YOU READ IS CORRECT. I know this should go without saying, but it bears repeating over and over. We live in a world where fake news exists. We read opinion pieces as if they were fact. Articles today come with heavy bias one way or the other. Please do not accept anything you read that was written today at face value.
2. Take time to investigate information. I read one article about the Churches in Houston. It made me mad and embarrassed by the actions that were reported. Then I went on to read about a dozen other articles which explained the situation in much more detail. The post was written based on one tiny piece of information and was not representative of the big picture. Also, I strongly encourage you to do a little research on snopes.com or a similar site to confirm the story (see #1).
3. Look in the mirror. The Bible is very clear that judgment only comes after I have looked in the mirror and removed the log from my own eye. I recently read a post that was very incriminating about a religious leader. He appeared to be trying to avoid taxes in a big way. My first thought was outrage; then I looked in the mirror. I hire a professional tax guy to help me write off every possible deduction. I use the same loopholes in my life, but they are not on such a grand scale. I am still not sure the leader did the right thing, but my judgment is of myself first.
4. Be careful criticizing the Church. I read vast amounts of material about the Church in several forms. It seems that there are people who love tearing down other Christians. They speak of the Christians they know as kind and loving, but the rest of the world is lost. Great people are living faithfully across the globe, and they deserve our grace, love, and support.
5. Consider whether you are helping the kingdom of God. Are you trying to push your own political agenda? Do you value your opinions over the opinions of others? Are you causing division? Do your words foster love or hate? Do not confuse your own personal thoughts and ambitions with those of the kingdom of God. You might find out one day that you were wrong. You might get numerous people to like your post while hurting the work of the Lord.
Please be thoughtful before you share that next post. Please pray before you write a harsh criticism of someone else. Please seek biblical wisdom and Godly counsel before you share your opinion. The kingdom of God is either growing or shrinking in the digital world. Ask yourself, “How am I helping the faith by my words both spoken and written?”
As a fellow believer, I am begging you to think beyond yourself.