This week (month, really) has been especially hard and heavy.
There have been multiple, senseless mass shootings. A report was released documenting the coverup of widespread sexual abuse allegations in the SBC (Southern Baptist Church).
And then there are other events such as natural disasters, unexpected death, devasting diagnoses, etc. all of which can leave us crying out, “Jesus, come soon!”
We may feel we need to say something publicly. Whether that be on our personal social media accounts, our women’s ministry accounts, or both.
Because you’re a leader in your church, women will pay attention to what you say on social media when tragedy strikes.
It will not matter if it’s on your personal social media account.
Please carefully weigh your words.
Whenever possible, follow James 1:19-20, “…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
While our words will not please everyone, we can be intentional in what we share (if we share) so it does not cause division.
When deciding what to say on social media in the midst of tragedy, consider the following questions:
- Is the Holy Spirit prompting me to speak out on this topic or situation?
- Have all the facts been collected so I can share from a place of truth instead of rumors?
- If I’m sharing another person’s post or words, are they a reliable, biblically-sound resource?
- Do I need to wait to share when I’m not so angry?
- Can I post without making a political statement?
- Is what I plan to share compassionate?
- Are my thoughts addressing the heart/sin issue?
- Are my words pointing people to Christ?
When you do feel led to post something consider:
- Sharing a Bible verse (see list at end)
- Writing out a prayer
- Sharing the video of a worship song of lament
- Offering practical ways women can take action through your local church efforts or denominational responses (staff-approved organizations only)
If the situation is particularly sensitive (or you have a check in your spirit), please have a mentor, staff person, or trusted Christian friend review your words before posting them.
You don’t have to comment on every tragedy.
Posting about every tragedy will distract from your ministry. (Side note: Your team may want to create a tragedy posting policy, if your church doesn’t have one in place.)
You don’t need to apologize for not making a public statement either.
If someone approaches you for not posting, it’s okay to say:
- I’m not comfortable sharing my thoughts publicly.
- I’m waiting for more information before I share my thoughts.
- I’m praying for the victims.
- Please see the statement issued by our church staff.
People respond to tragedy in a variety of ways and believers don’t always agree on the “right” response.
A couple of weeks ago, one of our pastors asked a rhetorical question during the sermon, “Are you a peacemaker or a stick of dynamite?”
In the midst of tragedy, let’s strive to be peacemakers. There are enough sticks of dynamite sharing publicly.
Lord, give us wisdom to know when to post and if we are to post. Direct our words so that they honor you and all those affected. Help us to shine your love, grace, and light into dark places. Amen.
As you prayerfully consider how, and if, to respond to the latest tragedy, you may find the following verses helpful.
14 Bible Verses to Share in the Face of Tragedy
- Psalm 34:18 ESV – The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
- Revelation 21:4 ESV – He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
- Psalm 55:22 ESV – Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
- Matthew 5:4 ESV – Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
- Psalm 147:3 ESV – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
- Psalm 56:3 ESV – When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
- Psalm 46:1 ESV – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
- Philippians 4:6-7 ESV – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
- Ephesians 6:12 ESV – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
- Psalm 56:8 ESV – You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.
- James 1:19-20 ESV – Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
- John 16:33 ESV – I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
- Isaiah 41:10 ESV – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
One last thought, if your women’s ministry is hosting an event within days of a tragedy, please consider praying for those involved and providing a list of resources for women who may need someone to talk with. If applicable, share ways they can be involved in helping with any related ministry or outreach efforts.
Please feel free to share additional advice on what to say on social media when tragedy strikes in the comments below.