We’re all angry these days. Everything offends even the most godly of us, and we use our social media platforms to make sure the world knows how upset we feel. Some of our rants are legitimate, but even then we can go over the top in responding to whatever bee happens to buzz into our bonnet.
I’ve done it too. As I point with one finger, three of my own fingers point back at me reminding me of an outraged post I once wrote on my old blog and an email I sent far and wide many years ago that slandered someone. I know from first hand experience how disastrous it can be when you type in the heat of the moment.
Email, blogging, Facebook and Twitter make it easier than ever to say reckless things. We can make all sorts of accusations and allegations, all the while defending ourselves instead of praying over valid criticism. Our anger explodes all over the Internet, causing others to explode in reaction.
Interestingly, even the anger that we view as righteous indignation fails to glorify God most of the time.
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. ~~James 1:19-20 (ESV)
There’s a place for anger against sin and false teaching, of course. Even then, however, our words and demeanor must be measured. Are we defending ourselves or are we genuinely seeking God’s glory?
I could be wrong, but it seems to me that the angrier we get, the less concerned we become with God’s glory. More often than not, even the anger we tell ourselves is righteous indignation really comes from our wounded pride. I can heartily attest to that fact!
Social media doesn’t cause our anger — Mark 7:20-23 assigns responsibility for all sin on our own hearts. Social media simply gives us greater opportunity to spew our vitriol farther and wider. And when people “Like” our typographical temper tantrums, we feel encouraged to rant all the more.
Social media should be different for Christians. It should open opportunities to tell people about Jesus. It should enable us to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit as we exercise patience, kindness, gentleness and (dare I say it?) self-control. We should major on declaring God’s glory, not leaving Him in the rear view mirror as we drive our points home.