Solomon did not have a web page. He didn’t blog. He didn’t tweet. He wasn’t on on Snap Chat or Instagram. But he can still help you navigate the seas of social media.
Here are three important terms to know when using the internet: Verify, Verify, Verify!
In the world of social media, little is as it seems. You must verify that what you read and see is not just a half-truth or flat-out deception. Proverbs 18:17 says:
The first to present his case in a dispute seems right,
until his opponent comes and cross examines him.
It is easy to accept texts, tweets, posts, emails, etc., at face value. Don’t! This isn’t cynical, but just realizing that the Bible warns about the deception of the human heart. The online chat can be with a predator. The text or email can sound like a real need, but it may well be only half of the truth. Someone who is struggling may be telling you only one side of the story.
Remember what is important about internet communication:
VERIFY what you hear or read by way of another source. Just because one person or source says something is true, doesn’t make it true. If verification is not possible then you must withhold judgement about the truth of what you read. Also verify the identity of whom you communicate with. Predators are a serious threat!
VERIFY that the person you are communicating with has nothing to gain from the information you receive. Is the person trying to gain your support in a dispute? Are you being asked for information that could compromise you in some way? Is someone else being put in a bad light by what you hear? Are you being intentionally or unintentionally misled?
VERIFY that the person you are communicating with has done their due diligence in verifying what you are being told. Simply asking “how do you know that” is a great way to avoid gossip.
Someone reading this might well ask, “Well this article is online, how can I trust what you are saying?”
That is exactly the right question to ask! In this case you know the source of the article, ShepherdPress.com. You can know who the author is by checking out the webpage. You have the ability to communicate and ask for verification either by comment or via email from the Shepherd Press web page. You have the ability to check out the background and beliefs of Shepherd Press by checking out that same page. This is the sort of verification you should engage in with any information gained via social media. Protect yourself and your children by acting on the truth of Proverbs 18:17.
Solomon may not have had internet access. But his wisdom is timeless!
Jay Younts is the author of “Everyday Talk: Talking freely and Naturally about God with Your Children” and “Everyday Talk about Sex & Marriage.” He blogs at ShepherdPress.com, where this article (reprinted with permission) first appeared.