Before You Click "Forward"

by Bryan Matthew Dockens

Before forwarding that next e-mail, consider the following:

Is It Morally Correct?

Inasmuch as "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance" (Proverbs 15:13), it is nice to send and receive jokes and humorous stories, but care must be exercised in doing so. The Scriptures describe "coarse jesting" as behavior that should "not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints" (Ephesians 5:3-4). If it contains sexual humor, thus trivializing sin (I Corinthians 6:18; I Thessalonians 4:3-4), it is coarse and should not be forwarded. If it contains "filthy language" (Colossians 3:8) it is likewise coarse and should not be forwarded. If the joke itself is harmless, but contains gratuitous profanity, just delete the offensive words before sending it.

Is It Factually Correct?

Remember that "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight" (Proverbs 12:22). If you are less than certain that the information received is accurate, then verify it before sending it on. Websites like exist for the single purpose of vetting rumors and urban legends. Information that cannot be validated is not worth sharing. This is especially important when the content is critical of another because "whoever spreads slander is a fool" (Proverbs 10:18).

Is It Scripturally Correct?

If the message on your screen mentions God, prayer, miracles, or the antichrist, do yourself and everyone else a favor: back it up with book, chapter, and verse (II John 9; Revelation 22:18-19). Otherwise, don't send it because what you share may lead others astray (James 3:1).