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These days, it seems everyone is eager to put their two cents in.  The pull and pressure to join the conversation is particularly strong for those of us who live by the pen.  If we aren’t careful, deadlines, daily social media quotas, and the strong speech of others can bully us into writing and posting things that we otherwise wouldn’t and probably shouldn’t.

Scripture says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph. 4:29).

To my Christian friends who also happen to be bloggers, understand that our responsibility to present all aspects of the Gospel clearly, build up the Body, and promote unity among our brothers and sisters in Christ far outweighs any obligation we may have, real or imagined, to produce and publish words or express an opinion.

This being true, here is a simple checklist that you can use to hold yourself accountable when posting original content, responding to comments on that content, and offering feedback on the original content of others.

The first three have to do with the content itself.

1. Is it true and accurate? (Prov. 6:16-19, Ex. 20:16, 2 Tim. 2:15)

2. Is it kind and compassionate? (Eph. 4:32, Phil. 2:3)

3. Is it necessary and helpful? (Prov. 10:19, Prov. 17:28, Eph. 4:29)

The last two have to do with motive, something far more difficult to measure.  As Paul says in 1 Cor. 4:4, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent.  It is the Lord who judges me.”  You may need to pray through these two questions and/or seek the wise counsel of Christians who aren’t interested in telling you what you want to hear in order to find honest answers.

4. Am I seeking God’s glory or my own? (Col. 3:17, Gal. 1:10)

5. Am I promoting peace or picking a fight? (Rom. 12:18, Prov. 6:16-19, Prov. 20:3, 2 Tim. 2:23-26, Matt. 18:15, Rom. 7:7 with Gal. 3:24)

Typing with Jesus’ name tag on is an intimidating task to undertake, and those of us who do so make mistakes sometimes.  When it happens, we wish we could somehow reach out into the blogosphere, take back our words, and settle our stomachs, but the scary truth is a work or comment posted is a wild thing, heedless of our wishes, careless of our regrets, and, to some degree, beyond our control.

So, before you post, take my advice.  When in doubt, leave it out, whether “it” be a word, a paragraph, or an entire post that took you six or more hours to write.

At the very least, wait (Proverbs 19:2).  For the sake of the Body and your own sake, give your thoughts time to process, your emotions time to settle, and the Holy Spirit time to convict, correct, and guide you in the right course of action and manner of speech. Remember, “…of the abundance of the heart [the] mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45)—and fingers type!—and people who know so are reading your words.