The old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is not true. As a writer, I know words are powerful. Words have the power to hurt, but they also have the power to heal. I can still remember mean things people have said when I was in elementary school, but I can also remember the encouragement I received from teachers. Words are weapons that should be handled with care, which is why the Bible warns us that the tongue is dangerous:
“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” (James 3:5-10)
The tongue can set fires and spew poison, but it can also heal and bring people together. Proverbs 15:1says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” When we respond with the truth in love, we can defuse a situation, or we can act rashly and throw another log on the fire. When we take a moment to think before we click, maybe we can find a better way to say something, or in some cases say nothing at all. Proverbs 25:11says. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Silence can be golden.
There is a time and a place to speak and stand up for the truth, but it should be led by the Holy Spirit not an angry spirit. The enemy will use anything to create dissension. This is no truer than on social media where fake news, photo shopped pictures, bait ads, and conspiracy theories abound. The enemy wants to distract Christians and get their eyes off the goal of spreading the good news by getting us to chase rabbits. Philippians 4:8 gives us some guidelines to follow to help keep us on track:
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
So, before you are tempted to share an article, photo or post ask yourself the following:
- Is it true, just, pure, and lovely?
- Is it of good report (fact check)?
- Is there any virtue in sharing it?
- Is this going to give God praise?
If not, one advantage keyboards have over tongues is the delete key.