There is an infamous childhood saying that goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” And while it may be true that words cannot bring physical harm, they can bring irreparable damage in ways we could never imagine.
I’ve learned the hard way, through my own words and mistakes, through my sometimes haughty, arrogant, and prideful attitude, that we can use words to be the deadliest of weapons. Our words can kill relationships, they can kill hope, they can break both people’s spirits and hearts, and worst of all, they can ruin our witness for Christ.
Or we can use our words to heal. We can use our words, both directly and indirectly, to show others Jesus.
I’ve put a lot of thought into how I should, or even if I should, write this. Because in writing, I don’t want these words, my words, to do the very thing I’m with which I’m so concerned, to do more damage than good. So I tread lightly and carefully knowing the weight that words carry . . . my words, your words, all of our words. And as a Christian, these words written here are directed both at myself and my Christian audience, in particular.
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. It’s a great way to connect with others, and it can be a powerful tool to reach others for Christ. I have many friends, around the world, through social media, mostly due to adoption. And while many of those friends share beliefs and views that are similar to my own, there are also many who do not. Here’s the thing, my beliefs, my views, and my feelings are no secret. I don’t try to hide the fact that I’m a devout, cover to cover, literal, bible believing Christian. From time to time, I have waded into the minefield that is that of political opinions. However, I’ve learned, the hard way, that arguments are seldom won, minds are rarely changed, and battles are often lost when we are keyboard warriors that forget that those are humans, dearly loved by Jesus, on the other end of our posts and comments.
That’s not to say, I’m always silent, never speak out, or excuse sin. As a Christian, to excuse sin, as it is defined and outlined in God’s word, is not helpful but hurtful to a lost world. But there is a time and a place to address what is biblically right and wrong, and I think that the platform of social media often lacks the ability to communicate both the compassion and love that Jesus would have us convey in addressing such issues.
In other news, I tend toward sarcasm and have a very dry sense of humor, and often times, the things I share may be funny to me, but cause others hurt and harm. That’s not to say that every time I post or repost, I have to become a stressed out ball of nerves afraid of offending someone or everyone. Because, I’ve also found that there are those that are always going to find offense. And my sarcastic sense of humor will still find a way to shine, I’m sure . . . especially as long as we’re continuing with this whole school at home thing because y’all . . . these kids. So don’t be misled, I’m still here for the funny memes, but just because it elicits a chuckle doesn’t always mean I should click that share button without another thought. And before I do decide to post or share, I try to stop and ask myself a few questions:
1. Does this show compassion? Does this show the kind of care and love that Jesus would want me to impart to others?
2. When those who aren’t Christians read these words, what kind of seeds am I sowing? And what kind of seeds am I fertilizing? Because, like it or not, we are always sowing and always fertilizing something.
If you’ve been around for more than a minute, you know one of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”
Another one I find particularly important and significant, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies.” Psalm 141:3-4 The truth is, even if I’m sharing something truthful but do it with an ugly spirit, I’m still eating of the delicacies of wickedness. Passive aggressive ugliness in my words and attitude is just as sinful as ugliness in my behavior and actions.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21
I could go on for some time with scriptures regarding our words, but I’m going to close with this. I was hesitant to write this because what I want to convey is not a haughty, judgmental tone toward fellow believers, but instead I want to implore those who belong to Jesus to think before they speak . . . to think before they type . . . to use wisdom and discernment before speaking or posting or hitting share . . . to speak the truth, but let it be laced with love and discretion about when to speak and when to wait. And I promise, with God’s help, guidance, and forgiveness for my mess ups (because y’all not one amongst us hasn’t messed up, and we’ll probably all mess up again), I’ll do the same. And for those that do appreciate my off the wall sense of humor, I’m still here for you. Don’t you worry.
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