If you’re a regular user of social media, then reading long debates under controversial posts shouldn’t surprise you. In fact, maybe you yourself have engaged or frequently engage in these debates. Either way, social media has opened up a virtual world where ideas and theories abound. And wherever there are ideas and theories, there are other ideas and theories.
The reality is this: social media is a platform that enables multiple debates to take place in no particular format.
There are no time constraints, no ethical boundaries, no ways to “cheat,” and anyone can join. The issue that we can see time and again is that people aren’t benefiting from these ideas and theories, but rather getting stuck in the debate. Lot’s of emotions are flung around, people are bashed, facts aren’t checked, and friendships are ruined – meanwhile, no one has really seen any of the faces connected to the bodies that are connected to the hands that have typed all the words.
In some ways, online debates can seem quite useless.
What We Need to Ask Ourselves
The question for Christians is: how should we engage in online debates?
Firstly, I think we need to realize that many online debates can result in destructive outcomes. This means we ought to engage them carefully, prayerfully, and lovingly – ask yourself, “Is this conversation even worth it?” Secondly, we need to heed words of Scripture that speak into communication and how we use our words.
4 Verses on Communication
Here are 4 powerful verses from Scripture on communication:
- 1) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
- 2) Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4)
- 3) For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (James 3:7-10)
- 4) When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. (Proverbs 10:19)
This article was originally uploaded on August 15, 2016. Edits were made.