“Think on these things”
Without thinking I click praying hands. My heart goes out to the family’s post. Their picture and plea sit at the top of my feed. It’s been a rough year. I send a little virtual spirituality their way, and offer a quick Facebook prayer.
1. “…whatever is true…”
I’m already four posts down.
“There she is again,” I think with a snarly voice in my head. I stop and stare. Can her life really be that great, I ask? I immediately take in her forever-together-happy-family on another forever-together-happy-outing. I scrutinize the backdrop and it is as always, expensive-casually-perfectly-forever-together.
2. “…whatever is honorable…”
I am inundated with screen-deep connections, far too prone to promise what I can’t deliver. Insincerity nags at me. I mean can I really pray for several hundred facebook friends while scrolling past them?
3. “…whatever is just…”
And there is the politically gets-my-gut person. My heart beat turns up a notch. I read the gist of it. As if he spoke the words I aloud, I answer. Into an empty room, I argue his ridiculous thesis and dispute his views. My comments could possibly include my IQ assessment of the post’s writer.
4. “…whatever is pure…”
Another great article glides past. I have no time to read it but give it a yellow thumb pointing upward, cause after all, I like the author, so it’s probably good, right?
5. “…whatever is lovely…”
I throw a smiley face while at the same time grumble a bit at another post and another person’s good fortune.
6. “…whatever is commendable…”
Paul didn’t contend with social media in the book of Philippians, just human nature, which is copied and pasted from age to age like device to device.
But, I ask myself, what part of Philippians four, written with quill and ink on parchment scroll, does NOT apply to a different kind of scroll from my flickering screen today?
“…Finally, brothers…” Paul says, summing up a whole lot of instructions about living a steady and fruitful life in Christ, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable…” (Phil 4:8) ESV.
Today in our quick to click world, Paul’s, “whatever’s” take consideration. They call for thought. Is it true? Is it honorable? Just? Pure? Lovely? Commendable?
“… if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…”
Paul had no idea of what we would face in our social media frenzy, but he did know carefulness of disciplined speech and measured responses apply in every type of communication. He knew the importance of training thought to spill out careful testimony of Christlikeness.
Even if the conversation has changed form, the standard remains.
What helps you think before you click? What virtual responses are appropriate and where do you draw the line?