Share with Care

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! 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. 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: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 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:

  1. Is it true, just, pure, and lovely?
  2. Is it of good report (fact check)?
  3. Is there any virtue in sharing it?
  4. Is this going to give God praise?

If not, one advantage keyboards have over tongues is the delete key.

As The Tongue Wags

It has been said that you are what you think and do daily. Someone recently said as the tongue wags so goes the rest of the body. I think there is a lot of truth in these statements. Matthew 15:18 says, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” What we say comes from what we think. Thoughts lead to words and words lead to actions and repeated actions make habits, some good and some bad. Philippians 4:8 says, “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.” If we start with focusing our thoughts on good things, it will most likely lead to good actions and good habits.

It is very easy to get caught up in negative thinking. Focusing on the negative leads to self-pity and discontent. What we focus on really does affect our words and our behavior. For instance, when I have an ache or pain, the more I focus on the pain, the worse I feel. However, if I focus on something else, the pain often lessens. If I constantly talk about the pain, then it becomes even worse until it is all I think about.

The same can be said of our circumstances. If I focus on what I don’t have, I become discontented and have a bad attitude. It can lead to complaining and eventually to poor choices. For example, I have wanted a chaise lounge for my living room. If I focus on the fact that I don’t have one, I can begin to feel like I have been cheated, and then I may complain that I don’t have one. This could lead to me buying one on a whim, say on credit or by ignoring other bills that will be coming due. Poor spending can lead to financial problems down the road. However, if I focus on what I do have, then I have a spirit of thanksgiving, especially when I think about how much worse my circumstances could be.

Once I focus my thoughts, I can then change the focus of my words. I often complain out loud when I should be grateful. I also notice that when I am around people who complain all of the time that I am more prone to complain myself. How much better would it be if I was the voice of thanksgiving and possibly changed the tone of the conversation and the thoughts of others instead of encouraging the negativity?

Once my thoughts change, my words change. When my words change, my attitude changes as well as my actions. I become more productive and happier in general. So, if you want to change your life, start with the way you think and the words you say, and you will soon find that it will change your attitude even if it doesn’t change your circumstances.