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FIRST-PERSON: Pause before posting


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Everywhere I turn people are talking. In some places they’re even talking about how people are talking. Have you heard it? I hear people say things like:

— Everyone is looking for a reason to be offended.

— People are so volatile right now.

— Why are so many people angry?

Maybe it’s the stress of a pandemic and the disruption of our routines and expectations. Another factor may be how we’re using social media. Short, direct and snippy comments seem to be common on many social media platforms I visit. I’ll admit that I rarely leave social media feeling encouraged or built up.

A 2017 article on Forbes.com called A Run Down of Social Media’s Effects on our Mental Health said, “The more we use social media, the less happy we seem to be.” The article pointed to a study that showed the more a person is on social media the more isolated they feel.

If you’re using social media, let me offer you a way to help people rather than hurt them before you hit send. A short verse in the New Testament says, “… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8, ESV)

Not only should our thoughts be guided by these principles, but our words should be as well. As you consider your next post, ask yourself these questions before posting:

— Is what I’m posting true?

— Is what I’m posting honorable to myself, God or others?

— Is what I’m posting right and fair?

— Is what I’m posting free from defilement or impurity?

— Is what I’m posting inspiring?

— Is what I’m posting something I’d recommend to others?

There are benefits to social media as we’re able to connect with distant family members and friends. But we must be mindful of the cost. Is what you’re posting on social media helping those who will read it or contributing to the uneasiness in today’s society?