11 Cautions to Those Who Write Comments Online

11 Cautions to Those Who Write Comments Online

I log out of social media, certain that I have a large gray cloud of crackling lightning-bolt-anger hovering over my head. I take deep, cleansing breaths and shake my head. Then I consider taking a shower because I feel defiled by the ugly muck I just saw (and perhaps participated in).

I’m not sure what it is about the medium of the Internet that gives us the permission to bare the rudest, crudest versions of ourselves. Maybe we think that the screen separates us from the guilt of our speech. Maybe it’s because we can’t see the pain we are causing to the person we direct the comments toward. Maybe we’ve always wanted to speak and act a certain way and the indirectness of social media gives us the freedom to finally spill out guts.

Regardless, if left unchecked, the comments section on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites can quickly spiral into name calling and other hurtful, abusive language. As Christians, we have a higher calling, a moral obligation to love others as ourselves. To that end, here are 11 cautions all Christians should think through before they post online.

1. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online.

A computer screen depersonalizes the conversation, but your relationships with real people will extend past the election, the most recent news story, or the latest crisis. When the smoke clears, you will still see this friend at the grocery store or encounter your child’s friend’s parent at a ballgame. Before you comment, ask yourself if you would say the same thing if you were sitting across the table from that person.