This post, today, is perhaps one of the most concerning subjects in regards to social media and the ways with which we relate to it. I’m afraid it won’t fit the usual pattern of my Tuesday posts, I hope you can all forgive me for that and still be edified by the discussion. More than a twisted verse, it is an ignored set of verses. I’m referring to the act of attributing motives to those we disagree with, or anyone for that matter. I have been guilty of this sin, and needed repentance in this area. This is most closely related to slander, which I’ve written about here. I want to go a little deeper than that post, and look at a specific way in which I see slander taking place. It is one thing to guess at someone’s motives, and yet even that I would warn against. It is an entirely different thing to publicly announce someone’s motives in an accusatory fashion.
Why is this something we need to be weary of? It’s very easy to do, for starters, and often we don’t realize we’re doing it. As an example, think back to a time your child threw a fit. Was your natural inclination to discover the purpose of the behavior? Or did you automatically say “he/she just wants attention”. There are many reasons for children to have emotional breakdowns, in my own and my daughters case, there were neurological reasons. It might be the case that your child really does just want the attention, or you have a perfect child that never throws fits. Either way, this is just a small example of how easy it is to sinfully accuse someone through attributing motives. I’m sure you can remember times when you’ve done something nice for someone, only to be accused of ulterior motives. That is another example of what we’re talking about today.
How does this relate to social media? It’s the prime place to see this sin, broadcasted for all the world to witness. Brazen, unrepentant, professing Christians take to Twitter, or Facebook, to boldly proclaim the supernatural ability of knowing the hearts of man. Oh, that we would mortify the pride of our hearts before we ever type a word! It is pride that sends fingers to a keyboard, beloved, and encourages the hurtful slander to be published. Those that attribute motives to others would do well to tremble before the very words of Scripture in Matthew 12:36. At no point should we feel comfortable lying about others, how have we come to the point with social media where gossip is applauded and slander is cheered?
The truth, my friends, is that we do not know the heart of others. We can only know our own motives, which should give us enough concern without guessing that of others. Like in our physical relationships, we must be careful with how we treat people online. We do not see their face, we can not hear their voice, but they are still image bearers. We still sin against God when we sin against them. For many, discussions on social media have become unfruitful. They no longer seek ways to build up, edify, encourage, or rebuke, they only see the debate. The argument. The building up of themselves as they tear others down. I do not know the hearts of those that do this, but I do know my heart. I know the pride that leads me to trust my own opinion on others motives. Pride. I hate pride. It must be mortified.
Every word, friends, whether spoken, or typed, you will give an account for. Perhaps we have forgotten the one with whom we have to do? Have we forgotten how holy He is? Have we forgotten His righteous hatred toward sin? Or, is it that we’ve forgotten His kindness in sending His Son? Have we grown weary of doing good, do we now leave off obedience? It would be better to leave off social media, beloved. It is love that leads to rebuke, but what is it that leads to attributed motives? For me, it was only pride. We have been given today, a gift, time to spend on the glorification of God! Does it glorify God when we sin, or heartily approve of others who sin? And yet, the posts by those who have attributed motives to me and others received thousands of likes and hundreds of shares. We are set apart, we are not like the world, let us therefor be slow to speak and slow to anger. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.