"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." James 1:19-20
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit." Proverbs 15:1-4
Back in February 2013, I wrote a blog entitled, "Social Media...good or bad???" Basically, I talked about how social media can be used both positively and negatively. I asserted that all of the negativity that comes from social media is our fault. My exact words were, "It is our own sin nature that is to blame!" I quote Jesus from Matthew 12:35, where He said, "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." Here I go again...Social Media!!! Like anything else we could talk about, social media is both beautiful and ugly. We can use it to do beautifully incredible things for other people. However, we can use to be incredibly insensitive and brutally destructive things to others, too. The biggest problem with social media is that it is right at our fingertips, easily accessible. Maybe I should say it is right there on the tips of our tongues, on the edges of our small minds. But just as this is our biggest problem, it can also be our biggest asset. I read an article recently about pastors/churches who do or do not use social media. Pastors/churches who are using social media are seeing incredible benefits by sharing the gospel through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other media sites. They are able to reach people with the gospel that they never even knew existed because of it. Relationships can begin with social media and build into something even greater, face to face friendship and kinship. Pastors/churches who are not using social media are missing a huge group of people today, people who need to hear the gospel...people who are on social media most, if not all, of the day! But it really goes back to what I said early: It can be good, and it can be bad. We have a choice in what we put on our Facebooks, Twitters, LinkedIns, etc. We can build up, or we can tear down. I love what James said in James 1:19-20. He warned us to be "quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." This is good advice in our everyday, face-to-face conversations, but this is also good advice with our social media conversations! The writer of Proverbs 15:1-4 had some good advice for us, as well. He told us that "a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." He went on to say that "the mouth of a fool gushes folly" and "a perverse tongue crushes the spirit." However, he said, "The soothing tongue is a tree of life." The writer of Proverbs 18:21 said, "The tongue has the power of life and death." Wow!!!
Some of us are using social media to vent our personal, filthy laundry to anyone and to everyone who will give attention to it. We are using negativity to destroy others, and in fact, destroying ourselves. Some of us actually condone these types of actions and conversations by reading it, even actively looking for it and responding negatively to it. Some of us are using social media to share positive words and actions that build others up, encouraging others to be all that God created them to be. We are taking heed to the advice God's Word gives us...quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. We are gently answering others, using a soothing tongue that is like a tree of life. I understand that I can only control my choice. I cannot control the choices of others. I cannot force people to use social media in a positive way, just like others cannot force me to use it negatively. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will lead and guide us all to use social media wisely. My prayer is that you and I will speak life to all who will hear, not death. My prayer is that you and I will choose wisely what we put our eyes on and our hearts into when we are reading and looking at social media. The eyes are a channel to the heart. And the heart is really what we are talking about in this social media conversation. Jesus said in Matthew 12:34, "For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of." Maybe that is why the writer of Proverbs 4:23 said, "Above all else, guard the heart, for everything you do flows from it." Father God, I am asking that you help me today and in the days ahead. Help me speak life, not death, in all of my conversations, whether face-to-face or on social media. Help me look at things and read things that are pleasing to you and able to build me and other up for Your glory. Forgive me when I fail, and help me be repentant and humble to You and to those I harm when my tongue, which is guided by my heart, is perverse. Amen.
***IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ MY PAST ARTICLE ON SOCIAL MEDIA, GO TO MY WEBSITE AT WWW.JEFFTBLOG.COM AND SEARCH "SOCIAL MEDIA...GOOD OR BAD???" IN THE SEARCH BAR ON THE RIGHT-HAND SIDE OF THE BLOG PAGE.