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Before You Hit the Share Button

Updated: Apr 12

Is it true? Will it build others up?

Four young adults gathered around a computer, deeply engaged in what they are viewing on the screen.

Too many of us are too willing to hit the share button.  That’s one reason why so much falsehood runs around the Internet.

 

We shouldn't hit the share button on anything on the Internet unless it passes 3 tests:

 

1. Don’t hit the share button unless you believe it is true.

I had a relative who hit the “Share” button far too frequently.  Sometimes, he would send things that sounded so odd that I would have thought anyone one detect that it reeked of conspiracy theory thinking.  One time, I challenged him and ask if he really believed what he sent.  His answer was that he thought it was worth consideration.  In other words, that’s for you to decide.

 

In Philippians 4:8, Paul says, “Whatever is true, . . . think about these things” (NRSV).  If you don’t think it’s true, why would you ask someone else to think about it?  Don’t hit the share button unless you believe it’s true.

 

2. Don’t hit the share button unless you have done reasonable diligence to fact-check it, to ensure that there are objective grounds to believe that it is true.

It’s really easy to do a simple fact-check of claims you’ve never heard before.  The world is at your fingertips in your search bar.  Type into your search engine the words “fact check” and the claim you just saw, or “source” and the claim, and see what you get.

 

Ephesians 4:25 says, “So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another” (NRSV).  If you can’t verify it, you might be passing on a falsehood.  We are members of one body.  If we pass on a lie to someone else, we are, in effect lying to ourselves.

 

If you can’t find reliable sources supporting a claim, you shouldn’t be passing it on.  

 

3. Don’t hit the share button unless it speaks the truth in the right way.

Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth in love.  Some things we see on the Internet might be true but mean.  That’s not what we are called to share,

 

Paul writes to the Thessalonians and tells them to “encourage one another and build up one another” (1 Thess. 5:11 NRSV).  In another letter, Paul says that the purpose of his writing is “for building up and not for tearing down” (2 Cor. 13:10).  If that is Paul’s goal in writing, shouldn’t it also be ours on the Internet?

 

Even if you have found something that is true, does it speak the truth in love?  Does it speak the truth in a way that may build up someone who disagrees with you?  Or does it insult them and tear them down?

 

If the post you want to share doesn’t build up, you should find a different post or write it yourself.  Don’t pass on what tears others down.

 

These are 3 good steps to take before you hit the share button.  Too many people stop at step 1 and hit send.  Only a smaller group of people accept their personal responsibility for what they share and complete step 2.  And there would be a dramatic transformation of social and political discourse in our world if everyone routinely embraced step 3.

 

We Christians should be at the forefront of that transformation.  Before you hit the share button, make sure it is something that you could imagine Jesus sending to you.

2 Comments


You are always welcome to share the posts and other material on Faith Explored -- provide you do due diligence to be confident that we are presenting the truth accurately and graciously. 😀 There is even a Facebook link (and some other choices) at the bottom of each blog, to make it easy for you to do so. Thanks!

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Thanks for this practical and kind advice. I will do my best to follow it. I would also like your permission to share it on social media posts from my friends that are in conflict with it. Is that okay for this and other information on this website?

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