Why should Christians exercise care regarding the use of electronic messaging applications, such as those for texting?
Some Christians use modern technology to keep in touch with family members and fellow Witnesses. Of course, the mature Christian will bear in mind this counsel: “The shrewd person sees the danger and conceals himself, but the inexperienced keep right on going and suffer the consequences.”—Prov. 27:12.
We appreciate that Jehovah wants to protect us. Hence, we do not associate with those who cause division, are disfellowshipped, or bring twisted teachings. (Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 5:11; 2 John 10, 11) Some who are associated with the congregation may not conduct themselves in an honorable way. (2 Tim. 2:20, 21) When forming friendships, we bear this in mind. Choosing good associations may not be simple to do via a messaging application.
Being selective about association is especially fitting when it comes to large messaging groups. Some Christians have got involved with large groups, with negative results. How could a brother or a sister exercise due caution if there is a group of hundreds or thousands? It would be impossible to know the true identity and spiritual condition of all in the group. Psalm 26:4 says: “I do not associate with deceitful men, and I avoid those who hide what they are.” Does that not recommend using a messaging application to contact only those whom you know personally?
Even with a smaller messaging group, a Christian needs to evaluate his time and interests. It is not as if we want to interact with others no matter what they chat about or regardless of how much time they spend on such chats. Paul warned Timothy about individuals who would be “gossipers and meddlers in other people’s affairs.” (1 Tim. 5:13) Today, it is possible to do something similar electronically.
No mature Christian would offer or be open to critical comments or confidential information about fellow believers. (Ps. 15:3; Prov. 20:19) And he would avoid sensationalized or unconfirmed reports. (Eph. 4:25) We certainly receive via our jw.org website and monthly programs on JW Broadcasting® ample spiritual food and reliable updates.
Some Witnesses use electronic messaging to sell, buy, and promote products or to offer employment. Those are commercial efforts, not theocratic matters. Christians who want to be “free of the love of money” resist any temptation to use our brotherhood for commercial purposes.—Heb. 13:5.
What about using messaging applications to solicit funds for believers in need or for disaster relief? We often display loving interest in helping and encouraging one another. (Jas. 2:15, 16) But trying to do so through a large messaging group may actually interfere with better arrangements being made by the local branch office or congregation. (1 Tim. 5:3, 4, 9, 10, 16) And surely none of us would want to imply that we have a unique assignment toward God’s sheep.
We desire to do what will bring God glory. (1 Cor. 10:31) So in deciding whether to use a messaging application or other technology, consider the possible dangers, and be cautious.