A Social Media Storm

Dear Eastside Baptist Church

I have an urgent caution for you.

My reason to address this urgent message with you publicly today is because it is possible you are beginning to notice a relational social media storm brewing. Many of you have faithfully interceded for the past three-and-a-half years for the Abedini family. There is every reason that your praying ways should remain steadfast even in release.

My writing you today is to request your social media silence in the relational matters of a struggling relationship. The court of public opinion is open and a social media storm is brewing. Not because you have been, but to caution you not to.

There are times to be loud. There are times to be aggressive. There are times to even be harsh. Today is not that day.

This is a problem that is not isolated only to a high profile couple such as the Abedini’s. But this is true about all relationships. In matters like this… social media silence about our friends is best until truth is known; not rumor, not opinion, not emotion. We are disciplined people.

Here are a few things I want to caution you about… (I argue this is good practice for all relational matters you feel compelled to discuss in public.)

  • Yes, you are expected to exercise judgement, not as a ruling judge, but as one discerning with understanding (1 Corinthians 6).
  • Don’t play into the unrighteous ways (they are lesser and lower ways) of dealing with serious relational matters fueled with gossip and emotion. The ‘court’ of public opinion is no place to work out a relationship as a just and honorable reflection of our God.
  • Our desire to know personal issues is like a starving beast. Don’t feed that beast by searching out what is going on. Discipline yourself right now, rather, to pray. Show yourself to being different. It is to our shame (1 Corinthians 6), not God’s glory, to participate as the unrighteous.
  • This is no time to defend or attack – nor is it appropriate in the public court of opinion to do so on an issue best settled in private, and if necessary, at the local church level. Discipline yourself right now, rather, to not participate in commenting/liking/sharing; This is not appropriate activity.
    • Yes, this is a public issue involving the larger body of Christ because so many have been praying, united even, by this family. I can not forbid your activity, but hear my strong caution.
  • Do not give your unconverted friends a reason to increase the hardness of their hearts by your engaging in public discussion of a matter we really don’t understand.
  • Be an advocate to speak out against abuse. It is a serious issue and a complicated one to understand especially when we are not aware of all truth.
  • Let all of our speech be seasoned with grace.
  • If needed, comment in private messages, and limit your words. You and I are not close enough to the matter, or the people, to be considered legitimate advisers.

Now, rather than feeding a savage beast that wants to feast on the brokenness of others, go as you have a hundred other times, with your lamp of Scripture and pray.

Paul Thompson

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