Social media is a great place to connect with friends, keep up to date on community news, and meet new people. Some folks enjoy sharing pictures of their children while other people use the platform to share selfies. Lots of people gain recipes, style tips, and information about real developing news stories (if you can wade past the fake ones). Facebook in particular can be a place of inspiration and prayer networking, but it can also be an outlet for ugly emotional outbursts and too much drama.
We’re all probably guilty of speaking too quickly when posting an update, and it’s hard not to with the loaded question of “what’s on your mind,” but perhaps some forethought could benefit everyone.
So here’s 3 questions to ask yourself before airing your dirty laundry on Facebook.
1. Why? Seriously. It’s a simple question. So simple that it’s the most easily ignored.
Why am I posting this? I’m angry. I’m hurt. I’ve been pushed, so now I want to push back. Well, what purpose does that truly serve?
Will hurting someone else make me feel better? Will pointing out the faults of another suddenly make my own issues disappear?
It’s easy to react in anger and lash out vehemently, but when it comes down to it, what purpose does it serve? Ugly people are going to be ugly no matter what. Seeing that they’ve hurt you is not suddenly going to bring them to repentance. If they’re just plain mean it will probably only fuel their cruel nature to see that their actions bother you enough to tell all of your friends’ list about it.
Would I have the nerve to say this in person? It’s easy to hide behind a computer screen. If your words wouldn’t feel comfortable coming out of your mouth at a table with friends then it shouldn’t come out on a status update either.
But when it comes down to it, why is all you have to ask. Why? Is speaking hurtful things going to make your own hurt vanish? If the answer is no then perhaps it’s not worth your time.
2. Will I regret this later? I can’t count the number of times I have decided to speak out of my emotions and within moments regretted it. I’ve probably deleted a dozen Facebook posts over the past year. It’s easy to rant out of frustration, but don’t let your emotions rule you.
Do I really want to say something so vile about another person?
If you’re speaking about your child’s other parent, ask yourself if you’d want your kid to see your words. If not then it’s a safe bet that you shouldn’t post it.
Do I really mean that?
My children are a perfect example. Some days they drive me crazy, and I think some awful words in my head, but I keep them there in my mind. Why? Because I don’t mean it, and I don’t want to hurt them.
Words are more powerful than anything, and they can cut like a knife. Ask yourself if you seriously wish to forever wound someone with your words. And if the answer is yes then I would ask you to revert back to question #1, why. Why do you wish to hurt someone when it serves no purpose other than to drag yourself further down?
3. Does this truly represent me? It’s so easy to share your personal business on Facebook when you’re angry and you wish to speak loudly your frustrations over other’s mistakes. If you have been wrongfully accused it’s even easier to want to feel vindicated from the blame, but take a moment to consider how your words look to others.
Most people will immediately bristle at that last sentence, and state strongly, “I don’t care what people think!” Well, that’s good. I mean, overall you shouldn’t care, but we all know life isn’t that simple. In a way you do have to care. If you’re a Christian then you especially need to be concerned.
I can’t speak for everyone, I can only speak for me. Personally, as a Christian I realize my witness is important. My words and actions represent my position as a member of God’s family. They need to be seasoned with patience, love, and the light of Jesus.
Ouch! I miss the mark frequently on that one, but I strive for consistent improvement.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a representative of God’s kingdom, you still stand for something. Your actions reflect on your family, your job, and even your reputation as a kind, dependable human being.
Always ask yourself if the words you speak would serve as a good example of who you are overall. If not then keep them to yourself. Cool down. Spend some time in thoughtful consideration before you share every single emotional outburst that crosses your mind.
After some time you may see that your words would really serve no useful purpose. They might hurt your enemies, but in the long run they would hurt you more.
The biggest person in the room is the one who can hold their tongue. The most respected, strong individual is the one who can remain silent in the face of unjust treatment, and trust in the fact that what goes around always comes around. That’s the truth.
So don’t let the devil use your mouth for his handiwork, but instead let Jesus shine through your life. And if none of that makes any sense to you then just consider that perhaps it’s inappropriate and many people may not want to read your dirty laundry in the first place.
As always, this is spoken with love, not judgement.