What we say matters. The book of James and Proverbs do well to remind of this in multiple passages. But what about our written correspondence – texts, tweets, comments, social media posts? In recent years I am sure we have seen the significance of what we type, with old tweets from now popular people resurfacing showing an unpleasant side. Words typed years ago are having an impact on their present-day, words unconsidered or swiftly sent into the unforgetting database of social media. We need to be more attentive, even cautious about what we type online. It is as important as our words in conversations.
How to tame the untameable
Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to angerJames 1:19
The warnings of James are practical as we learn to tame our thumb. We need to learn to slow down, process our thoughts and what we are taking in before reacting. Be even quicker to check facts, read up about things before uttering a word or tweeting a statement. The instant nature of social media makes us believe we must be first on the scene, quick to the timeline and right there as the action is unfolding. Truthfully these things have a short span but it doesn’t mean we must rush to be part of the whirlwind.
Here are three things we should try to be when taming our thumbs.
- Be quick to research, check facts, read the background
- Be slow to type, tweet, share
- Slower to react or reply, attack
We don’t have to be the first to say something and often we do not need to say anything at all. Let not our words online deter someone from wanting to converse with us on issues especially related to our faith. We are right to be outraged at injustices and to speak up when we notice such occurrences. To hold people accountable for incorrect things they are sharing, posting or tweeting. However, there are tactful ways to have healthy disagreements without arguments, rudeness or insults. We should ask ourselves the reason behind our need to respond quickly.
Wholesome social media interactions
Let no unwholesome words come out of your mouth but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearerEphesians 4:29
Use Ephesians 4:29 as a reminder. Although it says mouth and hearers, a large majority of what we “say” today is translated through texts, tweets and other written communication. Yet it all matters. It all comes out of us – our minds, our hearts, our thoughts. What comes out of a person is what defiles him (Mark 7:20). We need to reflect upon what we type to others and remember the person on the receiving end is just as deserving of the grace we have received. Ask the Holy Spirit to replace the unwholesome words with more life-giving, spirit-filled ones. Words of truth, purity, righteousness, love and admiration (Phil. 4:8).
Naturally, we will have moments of outbursts where we say things we don’t mean. Words can fly out in the heat of an argument or disagreement which we later repent from. Even so, we can be more considerate with our texts and tweets as ultimately, we have a little more time to review before hitting send. Nonetheless, the most important thing to remember is that God keeps no records of wrongs (Isaiah 43:25) even if social media does not extend the same grace. However, we as Christians live with a greater understanding of grace as we have been forgiven much and receive much grace (Luke 7:47).