Words matter. What you say matters. Not only that. How you say what you say matters. To further complicate things, when you say what you say matters. Oh, I am not advocating for a script per se in how we speak to one another. But it is clear that Christians could do a whole lot better in the speaking department. And, to be clear, this applies to things we post on social media as well.
Maybe we don’t see the two as the same thing. Perhaps we feel that posting things in the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter multi-verse is different from saying something to someone’s face. We feel insulated by our screens and lose a sense of responsibility for what we’re posting due to the lack of contact and the sense immediate accountability that it gives us relationally. We lose sight of the fact that people to whom we “speak” and people about whom we “speak” (post on social media) are real-life people on whom the image of God has been stamped.
We’re discourteous, rude, short-tempered, accusatory, and so on. We gossip and distort the things others had said or done. We’re out-and-out accusing, implying and inferring things so that others pick up the torch of our suggestive comments and are caught up in the verbal lynching others.
As God’s children, we can do better. In fact, we must do better. We, of all people, should be leading the way with a holy conduct that truly portrays the God of grace and mercy Whose Son died for us.
“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 ESV).
The times are tense. They are difficult. People are anxious and fearful. Don’t give in to the temptation to react with the caustic tools of the world, but to respond with the comforting presence of our Creator. Maybe the reason we struggle with this is that we’re not personally experiencing that comforting presence.
If that is the case, then let us turn our eyes once again to our God. Let us once again be washed in the cleansing flow of His holy Word. Let us again find our anchor in His promises of provision, protection, and presence. The world needs the light of Jesus. So let us show it now.
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com.” Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected] Viewpoints expressed are the work of the author.)