Status Accountability

If it’s true that encouragement can change people, then it must also be true that discouragement can as well, only not for the good.  Discouragement removes joy, causes doubt, questions abilities, and can make one want to give up.  No doubt we’ve all experienced it.  Certainly none of us want to be the cause of it.

Social media has increased our accountability.  Consider the words of Jesus:

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:36, 37).

Our words impact others and we are being held accountable for each and every one.  With every posted status or comment, we must ask, “Will this bring sunshine or gloom to the reader?”  Of course I’m not talking about prayer requests.  It is blessing to be able to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).  I’m talking about ways we might negatively impact others.  For instance:

  • If the very first time we contact someone is to object, criticize, or point out a perceived wrong, it probably won’t have the kind of effect we hope it will.  Relationship is necessary.  Just because we are “friends” or followers on social media doesn’t mean we’ve built the kind of rapport essential to any kind of admonishment being well received.
  • While venting may temporarily relieve our own frustration, it really doesn’t do much for the reader no matter how wittily we word it.  Everyone experiences bad customer service, careless drivers on the road, messed up orders, or any number of life’s daily annoyances.  What do we hope to gain by sharing it?  Sympathy?  The comments generally show that all we’re doing is reminding others how frustrating life can be.  Surely we want to accomplish something better than that with our words.  Complaining is just a bad habit (Phil. 2:14).
  • We’re not going to agree with everything written or posted, but let’s choose our battles wisely.  And let’s consider our influence as Christians with the tone we use.  No matter how “right” we may be, sarcasm still sounds obnoxious.
  • And finally, we really are not meant to be the Police of Social Media.  Let’s not be Facebook trollers out to catch others doing bad.  Let’s catch others doing good.  While there may be times when we can and should offer a gentle word (in private) of admonishment, more often than not we can and should offer grace.

We know that we should think before we speak.  Sometimes we need to be reminded to think before we post as well.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).

Prayer for Today:  Help me use my words, Lord, to draw others closer to You.

Image credit: Facebook (

News Travels Fast

This past Sunday morning, Neal shared with Bear Valley our decision to work with the Foote St. congregation in Corinth, MS.  Before the day was over, we were emailed, texted, called and even scooped.  Before our beloved Bear Valley family could absorb the announcement, before we had time to convince them how very much we love them and will miss them, the news was out.  Thanks to facebook, twitter, and every other information-age-device, the news traveled cyber fast.  My mind was blown.

But of course this wasn’t the first time I’d seen that kind of power in action.  Thanks to the news channels and facebook, we’ve all been able to keep up with the recent tornado destruction in Moore, OK.  What happened?  How can we help?  These questions and more were quickly answered.  Videos were shared of survivors and their stories.  (See the one about the lady’s dog that was found during her interview?)  On another personal level, we saw the effectiveness of social media when our son, Gary, got sick at Freed.  Since he was a gazillion miles away from us, we were grateful for the many friends who contacted us and offered to help, before Neal even arrived at the airport.  Good news and bad news travel faster than ever before.  What a powerful tool we have at our fingertips!

I’m in awe anew at the zeal of the first century Christians.  The command was given.  “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).  What happened?  “Then the word of God spread, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem” (Acts 6:7).  But it didn’t stop there.  Paul wrote the church at Colossi, who also heard the good news, and said the gospel was “preached to every creature under heaven” (Col. 1:23).  How did they do that without TV or the internet?  Perhaps the answer is found in every phrase of Acts 5:42.

The Good News was their daily focus.  “And daily…”  Evangelism wasn’t reserved for Sundays, gospel meetings, and door knockings.  It was on their mind every day.  Is it on my mind every day?  Is it always included in a specific way on my daily to-do list?  This is a Thursday, a typical weekday for most of us.  What can I do today to share the news?

The Good News went everywhere with them.  “In the temple, and in every house…”  Whether public settings or private settings, those Christians shared the gospel.  Sometimes it wasn’t comfortable or safe, but that didn’t stop them from spreading the news anyway.  Where will I go today?  To the grocery store, work, post office, or restaurant?  I must take the News with me.  Keep a Bible in your car and pray for opportunities!

The Good News was their top priority.  “They did not cease teaching and preaching…”  Even when the Word was rejected by some, and even when they were ridiculed for sharing it, they didn’t stop spreading it.  They didn’t give up.  The Good News was all that mattered.  It’s still all that matters.  Let’s keep sharing it!  Instead of feeling outnumbered or overwhelmed, instead of feeling timid, instead of believing Satan’s lie that it won’t do any good, let’s never stop talking, sharing, texting, promoting, and writing about the gospel.

The Good News was all about Jesus.  “They did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”  Jesus is the Way, the only Way.  Many don’t know that.  Many promote the complete opposite, like the COEXIST bumper stickers.  Messages that contradict what God’s Word says about Jesus Christ are being taught.  Let’s do all we can to spread the Truth!  There are other Bible principles that need to be taught as well, but the name of Jesus should be on our lips every day.

Thank God that news travels fast these days, because we have the best news of all!  “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples” (Psalm 96:3).

Prayer for Today:  Help me, Lord, to take advantage of the resources we have to spread the Good News.

Dale preaching at FPTC; Photo taken by David Parker
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