HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS COMMENT ONLINE?
By Jon Bloom at Desiring God
Reading people’s comments online is an interesting and sometimes troubling study in human nature. And reading comments by professing Christians on Christian sites (as well as other sites) can be a discouraging study in applied theology.
The immediate, shoot-from-the-hip nature of comments on websites and social media is what can often make them minimally helpful or even destructive. Comments can easily be careless. That’s why we must heed Jesus’s warning: “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36). This caution makes commenting serious business to God.
How Should We Comment?
Seldom: “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (Proverbs 10:19).
The Bible counsels us to restrain our lips (which in the twenty-first century includes thumbs) because a fool has many words (Ecclesiastes 5:3). We are wise to heed this counsel. It’s also helpful to remember that our sin nature gives us all an exaggerated sense of self-importance. But gospel humility leads us to esteem others higher than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Perhaps our opinions aren’t needed after all.
Slowly: “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19).
If an article or post makes us angry, we should almost never write in the heat of irritation. In that frame of mind it is very difficult to “be gentle [and] show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:2). It is best to wait and pray. An hour or a day will likely yield a more gracious comment, if one is needed at all.
Graciously: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6).
All things that are said outside of the Bible by fallen humans, especially quickly written social media updates, are limited, deficient, and defective. And all of us read things through the filters of our experience and perspective. We all say and interpret things wrongly. Therefore, we can be gracious and patient, seeking to assume the best of people.