When I was in the seminary, one of my favorite classes was Church History. Our history professor had a wonderfully quirky sense of humor.
One day, we were studying those who throughout the history of the Church and religion have foolishly tried to predict the end of the world – a day which God clearly says no one knows nor will be able to predict (Matthew 24:36). Numerous preachers and Christians through the centuries have predicted that the world would end on this day or that, only to be humiliated when the day came and passed.
“If you ever have the audacity to predict the end of the world,” our professor warned us with a smile, “just make sure to pick a date well past the day of your own death, because otherwise you will end up with egg on your face.”
I was thinking about that professor recently as I scrolled through Facebook. No, I am not suddenly seeing people predicting the world will end on a certain day, but I am afraid many people I know are eventually going to find themselves with egg on their faces.
You see, right now everybody has an opinion about the racial divide in our country, police brutality, masks, COVID-19 and our upcoming presidential election.
Many feel so strongly, they quickly share “facts” they find on the internet which support their views. They post strongly worded opinions as unequivocal truth. They condemn those who disagree with them as being foolish, blind or evil.
The problem is they often don’t verify whether the “facts” they share are true or not. Few of us are experts on any of these subjects. Most of us don’t have all the facts. None of us can look into other people’s hearts to judge their motivations nor can we know for certain what lies ahead in the future.
So often we post our opinions as undeniable fact on social media. The problem is that once you put it out there, it is a permanent record. Even if you delete it, it never really goes away.
What you post on social media is like tooth paste. Have you ever tried to put tooth paste back in the tube? It is impossible. Once you squeeze it out, you can’t put back in.
What will happen if, in the next few months, the opinions you have shouted as unequivocal truth about masks or President Trump or the cases of police brutality are proven wrong? What do you do when the articles and posts you so quickly shared are shown to be urban legends or fake news? What will people think about you if the things your rage about now on Facebook are shown to be untrue in the future?
Wisdom leads us to remember that we don’t have all the facts. Christian humility leads us to admit we are not experts. We cannot look into other people’s hearts. You could be wrong.
So, be careful. Be wise. Be humble with what you write on social media. Be loving, patient and encouraging with what you post as a permanent record for all to see.
If not, you too could end up with egg on your face.