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The Ninth Commandment also Applies to Bloggers

The Ninth Commandment also Applies to Bloggers

by Scott Thomas

September 01, 2009

“Words matter. Words are malleable and can be used to illuminate or obscure. Words can hurt,” writes Seattle Times Editorial Page Editor, Ryan Blethen published August 22, 2009. Blethen probably doesn’t know what a helpful reminder he gave to the Christian bloggers with his article. He said, “What we [journalists] do can alter somebody's life for better or worse.” Then he made the most convicting statement, “Almost every professional journalist is careful not to abuse this right of free speech…Bloggers are writing past this line and finding themselves in trouble.”


Many of us have encountered bloggers who failed to do proper research and then published potentially damaging material with little thought about the consequences. With one national denominational publication I have made repeated offers to call me or email me to confirm the facts before coming to a conclusion. My phone remains silent thus far. Blethan urges bloggers to ground their words in fact. He said, “If it is not then the writer runs the risk of being sued for libel, which is a false statement that damages a person's reputation.”


It’s almost like some Christian bloggers ignore the ninth Commandment altogether. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" is still a pretty good principle. If libelous lawsuits aren’t enough to dissuade bloggers, Christian bloggers might read the back page of the Ten Commandments before publishing opinions. Blethen reminds us, “Whatever that opinion is, it needs to be grounded in fact.”





As believers in God’s Word and careful exegetes prior to teaching others, we should apply that same care to our blogs. Words do matter. I am not just trying to stay out of libelous lawsuits; I want to represent the gospel with my words.  

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32)


Matt Kottman

on Sep 1, 2009 :: 10:26 am

Well said! Thanks for sharing that. The sooner some of these Christian bloggers are more concerned about preaching the Gospel TRUTH and less concerned about wives FABLES, the better.

David Rupert

on Sep 2, 2009 :: 8:25 am

Blogging is a serious responsibility-- unfortunately many people feel the ability to be free to say anything as long as they have a keyboard, an opinion, and a broadband connection.

Thanks for the serious call back to truth.

Check out my blog -- Red Letter Believers, a call to live out Christ's words in our everyday experience