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by Justin Cooper

The importance of discernment and discretion is imperative for the individual with some measure of influence when hitting the “share” or “retweet” buttons of online posts and articles. A lot of weightless words float around the cyber world. Not everything that comes down the timeline is worth our time, nor is it helpful to those to whom we will pass it. However, some of it can be helpful.

Before I consider sharing a post dealing with spiritual issues on my social media, I want to first consider a few things:

Consider the Source.

Who wrote it?

Does this person have a testimony and a track record of serving God? Is the writer seasoned and in a position to speak authoritatively? Is the article coming from a dorm room or a study? Where does this writer stand doctrinally and philosophically? Does the author actually practice what they are wanting the reader to practice? Whose books does the writer read or after who does he model himself? Is the author in the ministry? Have I even heard of this writer? With what local church is the writer associated? I can handle coaching, but I do not have time to listen to some armchair quarterback who is saying that I may be throwing the ball wrong. The “share” is one’s endorsement of the author, his doctrine, and whatever else that entails.

Consider the Spirit.

Is the writer seeking to help the reader or just prove his personal position?

Is there an underlying agenda that could hurt our ministry or those associated with it? Is the author pushing his platform? Consider what attitude motivated the article, for too much free time and a sour spirit have produced many a post. Where is the writer’s heart? I want to discern in what spirit the article was typed.

Consider the Scriptures.

Is it even Bible?

If an obscure reference to Scripture is all that is used to hold up an article, I just scroll on past it. Give me Bible. By the way, I am meaning to give me the same Bible that I believe and use. I do not want to pollute every timeline on my contact list with bad Bible versions.

Consider the Superfluity.

Is the content of the article simply unnecessary?

A lot of what is cycled through the social media “book club” is not information that people actually need. Much of it is just “noise.” Will it help to build a church or a bus route? Will it motivate in winning souls or living a clean life? Will it help you move closer to the place of revival, and if not, why waste the post? How will the article help you get closer to Christ? Is it something from which you might be able to glean something but over which others may stumble? If so, I do not broadcast it. The principle should be to share it if it meets a need!

There are other things I personally consider before sharing content, but those principles mentioned above will do a good job of filtering through much of the content. Someone once said, “Often, the smartest man at the table is the one who says the least.” May we be walking circumspectly and always with discernment. Influence is a serious thing.

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” – Proverbs 13:20

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