Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1 NLT)
Teaching in the church covers anyone who expounds upon the Word of God in the church whether it be a preacher, elder, pastor, evangelist, teacher, guest speaker, etc. It usually takes place from behind the pulpit or podium in front of a congregation or audience. Because of the technological society we live in, we can record the teaching and send it out to the world. It can then be replayed for anyone in the middle of nowhere or by an astronaut in space.
Those who teach will not only be judged more strictly for what they say behind the pulpit or podium, but also how they live their lives once they step out from behind it. One area that teachers did not have to worry about until the last couple of years was social networks like Facebook.
The integrity of any teacher in the church must be strictly guarded. Any teacher who has a flippant attitude about protecting it is in a bad place.
Consider these following points:
1. Yes your personal life greatly matters and people will judge you. 1 Timothy 3:7 says, “Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.”
2. Alcohol is a sensitive area. Because there are so many recovering alcoholics and there are parents that are concerned with their kids becoming involved with alcohol, teachers need to protect themselves from pictures showing up on Facebook or Twitter where alcohol is involved. A photo can paint a picture that does not convey the truth of the situation, so it is best to steer clear.
3. We can learn a lot from Billy Graham. He was meticulous at protecting his integrity. He would never answer a door unless it was safe. He knew a reporter would love to throw a beautiful woman into his unsuspecting arms and snap a scandalous picture for the newspapers.
4. Paul gave up his own personal freedoms to make sure he would not offend anyone needlessly. Paul makes it clear:
It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. (Romans 14:21, 22 NLT)
5. Extreme care must also be taken when someone texts, emails, posts or tweets. I do not think that there are too many people out there who have not regretted writing something they claim was just a joke. Most have been bitten in one way or another. Many have blown good job prospects. People have left a church because of it. Some have even been driven to suicide because of the cruelty that can exist.
6. Once the cat has been left out of the bag, it can be too late. You cannot use the defense ‘don’t judge me’. A lot of government jobs require that if the applicant has a Facebook account, they need to turn over the password so it can be fully investigated.
7. An example of being inappropriate was a young man who was given the privilege of preaching a Sunday Sermon. Not long afterwards he posted on Facebook “2013 resolution: punch 1000 people in the face.” Regardless whether this was said jokingly or out of frustration, this should not be. Every time a keystroke is made, the thought should come to mind, “Could this hurt me or someone else somewhere down the line?”
8. Forgiveness is just as valid today as it ever was, but printouts and electronic storage that we have today can make it a lot harder to forget. An old printout can come back to haunt like never before. Let’s be ever mindful of:
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)