Spending time on social media (like parenting) reveals that I need wisdom. A lot of it.
I’m comforted by the words in James 1:5 that if any of us lack wisdom, we only need to ask God for more and he will supply it.
Everyday, I see posts on social media – from friends, acquaintances, and Christian brothers and sisters – that I disagree with. No, that’s putting it too mildly. I see posts that contradict the truth of the Bible and which have the potential to cause great harm.
Most of the time I say nothing. A pithy reply will not do. Replying to these things takes time, mental engagement, and emotional energy.
But am I cowardly for not speaking up, or wise? It’s the constant question on my mind…
Speaking the truth
On the one hand, it’s important to speak up for the truth. In a time where society’s commitment to lies and destruction is broad, speaking the truth is so desperately needed.
And not only that, but I find it valuable to engage with posts that come from a different perspective to ensure I’m not living in an echo chamber, only posting and chatting with people likely to agree with me. It’s good to test my ideas by genuine disagreement and argumentation. It’s good to be forced to think through my beliefs carefully and methodically. And it’s good to be corrected when I am wrong.
Silent in the wrong places
But on the other hand, is it my place or responsibility to speak up and answer everyone? I know that I have very clear responsibilities here in my home that are directly from the Lord. I have three real, live children here who need me to listen to their questions and thoughts and wonderings, and to speak truth from the Bible into their hearts. I know it wouldn’t be right to stay silent here in my home while talking up a storm on the internet, no matter how good or true my words.
On the internet, there are many people available to answer the doubts and questions. There is the Bible and whole libraries of information available for those truly seeking answers.
But my children only have one mother. And I was hand-picked for this job. No one else can do it. And what I’ve discovered about motherhood is that much of the good stuff comes about simply by being in the right place at the right time. You can’t schedule in your children’s deep, heartfelt questions at a mutually convenient time. These wonderings just bubble up out of their little hearts when something prompts the thought.
Principles for wisdom
These days when I’m considering whether to write back to harmful lies I see online, these are the things I consider:
- Do I have the time to engage with this person over the next week, researching my answers and taking care to speak kindly and respectfully?
- Are they willing to engage in discussion, or are they just blowing off steam, or speaking to their own echo chamber?
- Does it need to be me, or is someone else already speaking the truth to them?
I don’t have a cover-all answer for social media wisdom as a Christian mum. I think wisdom is more of a “daily bread” provision than a lump-sum payment. And it is something we learn and grow in as we put it into practice.
So I’ll keep taking it day by day, seeking the Lord for wisdom and graciously receiving it. Speaking as the Spirit empowers me, and staying silent as the Spirit restrains me. And repenting when I get it wrong and speak out of turn.
On echo chambers…
I used to think that in order to interrogate my own beliefs and thoughts, I needed to read content from people who have a worldview diametrically opposite to mine. I thought reading the Bible was too close to my own views. (And it’s certainly possible to read the Bible in order to confirm our own views… let’s not do that!)
But the funny thing is, even that thought comes from a worldview in which the Bible is not the ultimate standard of truth, but merely one perspective. Truth is discoverable, and God has revealed it in His word. I can talk back and forth with people who have other viewpoints all day long, but unless we open the Bible, we will never arrive at the truth.
Holding my thoughts up to the Bible is holding my thoughts up against the only real standard of truth. The Bible is God’s word, not mine. And God’s thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways are higher than mine.
The Bible is the perfect place to go when I need to get out of my own head and escape the echo chamber. Reading God’s word gets me out of my own perspective and puts me on my knees before the Lord of all the world. Any wrong thoughts I have will be corrected. Any coldness of heart melted in His glorious fire. Any sin will be brought into the light.
In His word is where we all find Truth. And all our questions, doubts and worries are silenced before Him, because all that needs to be said is “Holy! Holy! Holy!”.