Published September 4, 2014
Bucky Kennedy is pastor of First Baptist Church in Vidalia, a former president of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and current board chairman at Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon. In this brief essay he reflects on the death of Braxton Caner on July 29. The 15-year-old Texas high school football star was the son of Brewton-Parker College President Ergun Caner and his wife, Jill. The funeral was held Aug. 2 at New River Fellowship Church in Hudson Oaks, TX.
Braxton Caner was a young man who had once read that if you listed your goals you had a better than 90% chance of meeting them, versus less than 50% if you didnít. Braxton had academic, athletic, and spiritual goals that he wrote down and pursued. At the age of 15 Braxton took his own life. It is believed that cyber-bullying may have been the cause.
Social media is now a part of the world culture and it can be used for good or evil; to build up or tear down. As Christians we are called to live distinctively different from the world and this should be evident in what we post or tweet. It is with this in mind and because Braxton believed in goal setting and list making that I introduce to you:
Braxtonís List for Social Media Conduct
1. If you canít post something nice ... ask yourself if you should post at all?
2. Donít let momentary anger become a permanent post.
3. Remember, the people you want to attack has a family that feels their hurt.
4. Public people can have personal problems that the public doesnít know. They may be closer to the edge than you know because you donít know them. Stop before they drop.
5. God says ďVengeance is MineĒ so itís best to let God do best what He knows best to do.
6. Christians never have the right to be unkind, not even once. Mean posts about an individual multiple times is harassment.
7. Post above reproach. If in doubt, donít. Be a building block and not a stumbling stone.
8. There are two sides to every story and the Internet is not the best place to tell the difference between the two or the best place to settle the difference between the two.
9. Itís better not to post and let people think youíre a fool than to post and remove all doubt.
10. Nobody wins on the Internet but lives and families can be lost because of it.
11. Satan is the accuser of the brethren, he doesnít need our help.
12. Praying for our enemies accomplishes more than posting about them. Remember, because we pray for them doesnít give us the right to post mean and hurtful things about them.
13. Believers are best dealt with by the local church, determining their salvation is the role of the Holy Spirit and not social media. If you donít like how the local church handled the situation see #5.
Braxtonís life was short lived but it can be long remembered if we engage in cyber-building and stop cyber-bullying.
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