Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Watching What We Say... Even On the Internet

It is important for us to watch what we say to other people.  The Bible has a lot to say about 'words' that we speak.  For example, in James 3, the Bible says:
5 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 is a nasty part of the body, that is for sure.  In fact, much of sin starts with the tongue. Sins such as boastfulness and pride, arrogance, lying, deceiving and tricking others.  Scheming to murder and seduction emits from the mouth.  Perhaps the tongue is second only to the mind as the epicenter of sin.  We can easily stop the mind from going through with sin, but once the tongue acts, it is much harder to stop the sin from taking place.

However, there is a new tongue that is on the scene.  It is the fingers.  The fingers can now do the exact same things that the tongue has long been capable of.  Perhaps after years of the fingers seeing the tongue being the star of the show, the fingers got jealous and decided they wanted a piece of the prize.  Writing was created, but the tongue was more agile and writings could be destroyed once there was guilt in what was said.  After all, it is said that the hurt from a word can not be easily taken back, but a letter can be destroyed before ever being sent.  With the internet, much is instantaneous, and words are quickly seen by all once they are written.  You may delete an angry post on Facebook or something you post on an internet message board, but there is a chance that what you said will have been seen, even if you think you were quick enough to retract your words.

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. 
(Proverbs 13:3)

Be careful little mouth what you say now applies equally to the fingers.  What we say on the internet is of extreme importance.  We are given more time to formulate our thoughts and feelings when we are online and we should take a minute or two before posting what we say.  I would even say that we should pray over what we post.  Imagine if people prayed before posting on Facebook.  Wouldn't Facebook be a much more enjoyable place?  As it is now, it is chock full of anger and strife, jealousy, rage, boasting, pride, arrogance, and ungodliness.  I often wonder how Christians can consider time spent on Facebook as time well spent.  Perhaps if one is preaching the Bible (not merely posting pictures of Bible quotes - but actual preaching and teaching the Word of God), then time spent on Facebook could be valuable.  However, many Christians fall into the trap that others fall into while on Facebook and begin to brag about accomplishments, compete with others, feel depression as a result of unfair comparison, and forget about our purpose on Earth - to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ.  Some try to undo the carnage by posting an image of Jesus with a Bible quote.  Yet, I can not help but wonder, when I see such things, if such quotes are merely tools to acquire the ever addictive "like."

No matter if you are on or if you are not on Facebook, you should guard what you say and think long and hard before you type something on the internet.  The written word can hurt more than the spoken word because we have more opportunity to think it through.  Words that are written are read by many, sometimes even thousands or millions of people.  We may think that what we say is clever or funny, but does God smile when you write these "clever" words?

Before you type, ask yourself, would Jesus say the same thing?  If Jesus was standing next to you, would you be posting the same comment?  If God was reading what you had to say (and He is), would you be willing to explain right then, right there, why you were saying it?  Jesus will forgive your sin, but do you really want the pain and anguish that comes with sinning?  Do you really want to have to look to Jesus and say that you are truly sorry for something you could have avoided in the first place?

For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. 
(Matthew 12:37 - Spoken by Jesus)

I know too well what it is like to say harsh things on the internet.  I, too, have said my fair share of horrible and vile things while in the comfort of the internet's anonymity.  Yet, I have found that, while I can easily hurt others, I can also uplift others while online, and the mental (and spiritual) reward for this type of action is far greater than hurting others or brining them down.  We are all human beings created by the same God.  Jesus loves us just as much as He loves the person we love the least.  Jesus finds us just as valuable as he finds the worst person on Earth.  Meditate on that as you formulate your words on the internet.  Remember that the person and people you are speaking to have the same feelings as you do, and even if you are hurt by their words, you do not have to continue the harm by passing more evil and unkind words back and forth.  

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