The Most Important (But Ignored) Social Media Commandment

Movie "The Ten Commandments" Copyright © American Broadcasting Company / Paramount Pictures / Paramount Home Video

Movie “The Ten Commandments” Copyright © American Broadcasting Company / Paramount Pictures

Most know the major commandments of social media, even if they often go unspoken.

For example, “Don’t feed the trolls” is one of the oldest. In fact, it was a rule before the Internet was even a figment of Al Gore’s imagination.

Yet, despite it being so well known, people frequently find themselves drawn down into mud by those who have nothing but the worst intentions.

But as bad as antagonizing trolls can be, an even more important social media is ignored on a regular basis.

And not only did this rule start before AOL was handing out free dial-up minutes, it was established even before the printing press. But this commandment is perhaps more applicable today on social media than any other.

In Romans 14:1, Paul tells the believers in Rome, “Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about doubtful issues.”

Don’t argue about doubtful issues. If you’ve spent any time on social media, you know that’s basically all it has become, including and especially Christian social media.

Notice how Paul frames this rule. He didn’t say don’t discuss doubtful issues. And he didn’t say don’t argue over vital issues.

Specifically, the command is not to argue over doubtful issues. We are not to get emotionally wrapped up in arguments over third tier (or lower) issues. Yet, so many Christians are consumed by this very thing.

What happens when we violate this rule for life and social media? Several of the points Paul makes following this verse in Romans 14 gives us an indication for what it would be like.

1. It violates Christian liberty — Some believers in Rome honored one day as holy, others wanted to affirm the reality of every day belonging to God. Paul tells them to do whatever they want in those debatable areas, but to do so for the glory of God.

There is liberty within the limits of the faith. On those doubtful issues, you can have freedom. But whatever you do (and here’s the limit), it must be able to be done for the glory of God.

2. It diminishes the Lordship of Jesus — Paul pulls no punches in verse 4. When we elevate smaller issues and use it to divide fellow Christians, we place ourself in throne of Christ.

We are not to criticize “another household’s slave.” It’s not my responsibility to blast every person on Twitter who disagrees with me about Calvinism or the rapture. They don’t belong to me.

3. It assumes the role of the Holy Spirit — Later on in the chapter, Paul tells us that our faith is not about eating and drinking, “but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Those who serve Christ this way are “approved by God.”

Leave doubtful issues to the Holy Spirit. He can work those things out with the individual if they are in error and will be much more convincing than your Facebook comment rant.

4. It robs God of His place as judge — We will all give an account before God. Paul wanted to remind the Romans (and us) who the ultimate authority is.

When the social media critic decides he or she must relentless go after all who disagree with their preferred position on a non-essential issue, they are, in essence, telling God that His judgement is not good enough or fast enough.


Since the beginning of our faith, according to Paul’s letter to the Romans, we have struggled with pointless arguments over items that aren’t deserving of such status.

Social media has brought with it many positives, but it has also granted us new venues where we can sin in old ways.

Think through the ways in which you use your social media accounts and make sure you aren’t breaking this centuries old command.

2 Comments

  1. Nice dig on Al Gore! Well done.
    I wish this principle were truly one that set the stage for a better generation. But “doubtable issues” is tough to define. I want to leave gender and sexuality there, but two camps see it as central, and I get angry when I see God’s character bent to cultural norms. So I struggle.
    I try to live my blog life in that area of the undoubted, but I live on the age too. I’m not sure if this commandment can be followed. Perhaps we need Christ’s grace!

    • I entirely understand the struggle (I’m with you there in it) and the discussion about what is doubtable issue. But I think the first part of that covers it—the arguing. I will discuss and even debate about issues doubtable or not. But I try not to argue. And I think that, like so much of our faith, comes down to an attitude of the heart. Do I want myself and this other person to grow closer to Christ because of our discussion or do I want to “win”? If I answer that question honestly, I can see where my heart is.

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Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.