“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:5-6).
Today we continue our discussion on living for Christ in a digital age. The term “ethics” speaks to behavior, or how we apply the Word of God to situations in life. For example, how should a Christian real estate agent conduct business? They obey God’s commands. How should a Christian military drill instructor or police captain conduct themselves? They obey God’s commands. How then should we conduct ourselves online? You guessed it, we should obey God.
Sometimes we should simply avoid certain places, even online. Of course, Christians should not visit pornographic sites or sites that promote hate or violence. But we should also avoid online places that tend to engage in gossip. Why would we frown on gossip in person, but not condemn it online? Whether we speak to someone in person or with a keyboard, God’s principles remain.
We should also not engage in heated online discussions on politics or religion if we get caught up in contentious exchanges. Of course, we need to defend our faith, even online. But our speech needs to be “gracious, seasoned with salt” (see the verse at top). We should point out error, but not attack the person. We engage in spiritual battle, but we refuse to use the weapons of the world (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Paul gives us a good pattern to follow when he summarized his approach to preaching the Word:
“By purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left” (2 Corinthians 6:6-7).
We need to conduct ourselves similarly when we go online, whether leaving a comment or using social media. If we find the struggle too great, then consider going offline altogether. We won’t miss much if we do.
Finally, we should impart hope to a despairing online world. The so-called “connected” age shows signs of deep-seated cynicism and even despair. We can point people to the One who alone provides meaning to life. When people search online for answers to life, we have the answer:
“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
Posted on Thu, June 8, 2017
by Diane Hultgren