The Highest Point Along the Way

“Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness.” (Proverbs 8:6-7, NIV)

This chapter in Proverbs personifies Wisdom. She goes to “the highest point along the way, where the paths meet… beside the gate leading into the city” (vv. 2-3) and calls out, inviting people to come and learn wisdom and righteousness. At the beginning of her speech, she says verses 6-7 above.

Talk about a challenge! Do these verses describe you? Can people trust what I say, or do I tend to exaggerate too much? Is my word unreliable? Do I spin things to look more positive (or more negative) than they actually are? Is my speech right and true? Do my lips detest wickedness?

I think it becomes even more of a challenge when we consider communication beyond just our speech. In particular, I’m thinking of Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, email, etc. In today’s world, social media is the highest point along the way, where the paths meet. Yet, when we get on Facebook, Twitter, or other sites, how often do we think intentionally about what we say on those platforms? When we’re fired up and typing an email, do we remember how much easier it is to be snarky through a message than when we’re face-to-face?

Jesus said, “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45). I think it would be consistent with His teaching to say a person’s Facebook page reflects what their heart is full of. Think about what you say, and look through your Facebook wall in light of Proverbs 8:6-7. What kinds of pictures do you post to Instagram? What does your SnapChat communicate about the kind of person you are? My prayer for this week is that all of us will think before we speak or post. Is this wise? Is it trustworthy? Is it right? Is it true? Does it represent Christ well?


How Christians Should Use Social Media

Proverbs 8:1–7 (ESV)

1 Does not wisdom call?
Does not understanding raise her voice?

2 On the heights beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
3 beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:

4 “To you, O men, I call,
and my cry is to the children of man.
5 O simple ones, learn prudence;
O fools, learn sense.

6 Hear, for I will speak noble things,
and from my lips will come what is right,
7 for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

For the record, I’m not a big fan of social media.  Most of what I see online is exceptionally narcissistic, rude, profane, trying to sell something or push a political agenda.  However I do use social media because I believe Christians should.  In the verses above from Proverbs 8, we see biblical reasoning for both why and how to utilize Facebook and other social media outlets as Christians.

These words are part of a speech given by “Lady Wisdom,” the very personification of wisdom in the Book of Proverbs.  She is going to teach people how to be wise and she is inviting them to come listen and learn.  Notice where she goes to make her speech (see vv. 2-3)?  She goes to the heights of the road, the crossroads, the city gates, the entryways.  She goes where the conversations of her day are taking place.  She goes where the people who need to hear her message can be found.

That’s exactly why Christians need to be on social media.  We need to go where the conversations of our day are taking place.  We need to go where the people who need to hear the gospel can be found.  That’s social media.

Christians need to be on Facebook and Twitter because that’s where the people who need to hear our message exchange ideas.

The verses above also give us some pointers about how to use social media in a Christian way.  We’ve looked at who is speaking and where she’s giving her speech.  Now consider what Lady Wisdom says in vv. 4-7.  She says that her speech will teach “prudence” to the simple and “sense” to fools. She will speak “noble things” that are “right” and her words will be words of “truth.” Not only will she speak these things, she will also avoid “wickedness” in what she says.

How can we learn from Lady Wisdom in what we post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc, etc, etc? Harness the power of social media for ministry, not narcissism! I’m not saying you shouldn’t post pictures or personal updates, but think of Facebook as a tool you can use to encourage people, share the gospel, and shine a light of hope in a dark world. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Post Scripture.  A verse or two from your daily reading is great.
  2. Post prayers.  When someone shares they are struggling, instead of posting something generic like, “Praying for you,” actually post a short prayer.  “Lord, please give my friend peace and be with him at this time.”
  3. Post positive stories about how God has helped you or a friend.
  4. Avoid attacking people through social media.  I’ve seen relationships destroyed when people took an argument to Facebook.  It’s awful and embarrassing.
  5. As Christians we should also avoid attacking other Christians we disagree with.  There is a time and place for Christians to debate theology and politics, but Facebook is not it!  Fighting with each other online not only makes us look petty, it gives our whole movement a bad name in the eyes of unbelievers.
  6. Don’t be arrogant.  Just because you know Jesus is the light of the world doesn’t mean everyone knows that.  Avoid being a religious know-it-all jerk.
  7. Think before you post.  How will your post affect others?  How will it make you look?  How will it make your family look?  How will it affect your job?  How will it affect your church?  What will others think about your faith in Christ when they read your post?
  8. Avoid liking, posting, re-posting or sharing things that are full of trash, profanity, perversity, or a message that is contrary to the gospel.

You may not like Facebook, but the fact is, that’s where the people are. Instead of seeing social media as an annoyance or an opportunity for narcissism, why not use Facebook and other social media sites as a tool for encouraging people, sharing the love of Christ, spreading the Word of God, and proclaiming the greatest story and the best news to ever hit the “Timeline” of human history?