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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, May 09 2024

Are you living two lives?

Unfortunately the Internet is sometimes viewed as a free-for-all, where things are said on a whim, that may be hurtful or degrading. As Christians we must learn to tame our tongues whether that’s in a face-to-face conversation or in the comment section of a YouTube page.

God knows our thoughts, the intents of our hearts and everything in between, online or otherwise.There is not a word spoken, a thought or typed statement He is not aware of. He knows our attitudes and inclinations and we shouldn't think what we post online doesn’t count.

Scripture is clear that no corrupt word should proceed out of our mouths. Our words are to impart grace and love to those who hear us (Ephesians 4:29), and the same applies to what we post online. Our digital character and who we are in real life are one and the same, and we should make sure we are in line with the character of God in both situations.

There is no doubt social media has had a huge impact on the culture around us. The choices are seemingly endless—Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, LinkedIn and many more. There is hardly anyone who doesn’t have access to some form of social media, and we should ask ourselves what impression we are making online?

While the Internet may seem like a safe place of anonymity, it is not. Reputations have been destroyed due to online behavior incompatible with who a person says they are. For example, employers increasingly monitor their employees’ online presence, and jobs have been lost due to vulgar postings or pictures of raucous partying and inappropriate behavior.

Opportunists and people with illicit motives are also present on the Internet, searching for information about people in order to take advantage of them. Others sell shoddy merchandise online and then disappear. Nothing is ever truly private, and nothing ever really goes away online. Hard won good reputations can be destroyed with a click of a mouse.

Advice and warnings as to how we should communicate to and about others can be found throughout the Bible: King David prayed: 'Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips' (Psalms 141:3), and in Proverbs 15:28 we are warned: 'The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil'.

Following are two of several Scriptures in the New Testament which contain similar advice: Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6). Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29).