My life is built around words. I write. I speak. I carry on conversations. I have opinions and convictions. These are all expressed in words. Words can help. Words can heal. Words can lift people up or cause people to stumble.
The psalmist penned valuable wisdom when he wrote, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (19:14). That’s a good prayer to pray in a world of words. Doesn’t the Bible say we will be judged by our words? OUCH! Sometimes I wish God hadn’t brought that up.
The psalmist also recalls that words can be hateful and hurtful. With the explosion of social media, there’s also been an explosion of anger, angst, hurtful words, cynicism, and downright hateful statements. Let me give you a few reminders and warnings from God’s Word…
“His speech was smoother than butter, But his heart was war; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords.” – Psalm 55:21
“All day long they distort my words; all their thoughts are against me for evil.” – Psalm 56:5
“They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; all who do wickedness vaunt themselves.” – Psalm 94:4
“Because they had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High.” – Psalm 107:11
“If you have been snared with the words of your mouth, have been caught with the words of your mouth, do this then, my son, and deliver yourself; since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.” – Proverbs 6:2, 3
“The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,” – Proverbs 12:6
“The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” – Proverbs 18:4
“The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body.” – Proverbs 18:8
“For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness.” – Ecclesiastes 5:7
I’ve been thinking about words lately. Especially when it comes to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms where we convey our words but it’s hard to read our intentions, facial expressions, or motives. Let me encourage all of us who call upon the name of the Lord to use our words wisely. I need to do this more. I would imagine you do as well. Let’s look at a few areas where we can hurt rather than help in how we utilize social media.
Too often, I’ve used my social media to vent about politics. I made a decision in 2016 that I wasn’t going to lose the high ground of the gospel by arguing about politics on social media. Drawing lines that divide believers over political issues is a waste of time. We have members who feel strongly about their parties and particular politicians. Why should I build walls between them over secondary issues? If we are followers of Jesus Christ and committed to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, then politics is not a platform I need to stand on.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Ole Miss. I post my support from time to time. What I don’t appreciate is people who slam me or call me names just because I don’t worship the god of their university. If I can be for my team without trashing you and your fan base on social media, can I get the same break?
SHOPPING AND CUSTOMER SERVICE
When we post negatively about an experience at a local business, are we really helping the situation? After all, it’s easier to vent on social media than it is to go in and have a helpful conversation with the manager. If that doesn’t fix the problem, don’t do business there anymore. You never know when an employee may just be having a bad day. They could have just gotten unexpected news from a doctor or they may be going through a crisis at home. My word is, lighten up.
Do you post positive things about your experience at church? About a sermon or a song? About what God taught you in Sunday School? Why is it we can post about every TV show, movie, novel, and recipe we can think of and yet our social media is strangely silent about what God is teaching us?
Do we really need a selfie of everything you do and everywhere you go? No one’s life is that interesting, not even to their friends. This obsession with posting selfies is a revelation that humility is not one of the dominant characteristics of our lives. Here’s a suggestion when you are traveling – take it in, breathe the air, listen, and if you have time, take a picture.
As you post pictures of your family, you need to remember that there are predators everywhere on the internet. Be careful and wise as you post about your family and where you are and what you are doing. And be mindful of who you allow to follow you on social media. If you are married, are you honoring your spouse on social media? If you are a parent, are you edifying your kids through what you post about them?
How does your social media reflect your faith? Is it obvious to even the most casual observer that you are a follower of Jesus Christ? Is your social media a vibrant witness of who you are in Christ?
So to paraphrase an old saying, if you were arrested for being a Christian and all the evidence used by the defense and/or the prosecution was obtained from your social media posts, would there be enough evidence to convict you of being a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ?