“But enough about me, let’s talk about you: What do YOU think of me?” ~Beaches
Opinions. We all have them, but do we really need to air them all? Or even half of them?
I’m pointing at myself. I am a big blabberdy mouth, and I’ve certainly been given the gift of gab (as a friend of mine calls it). Do you know the huge hole I’ve chomped in my tongue to keep the myriad of opinions that fly through my brain to myself? I joke with my teenage kids and their friends when we’re on the subject of sharing our different perspectives that I’ve bit a big enough hole in my tongue for a piercing, and ask them if they’d like to pick out the stud. 😉 I’m sad to admit that I still don’t zip it as much as I know I should.
Seriously, we live in a world where we are encouraged to share “What’s on Your Mind?” And in the name of such words as authenticity and transparency, we express away. Type, tap, type, tap. The backspace key (larger than the others by the way), just sits there lonely, waiting for some blessed pinky strokes. You get the picture.
Though I’ve pondered this a great deal, mainly about the balance of communication, opinion bearing & social media, I certainly don’t have “THE” answer. And in a million years, I wouldn’t even try to expound on what the Lord thinks of it all, though I know He cares deeply about the motive of our hearts and our whole-hearted love and devotion to Him and to others.
Who am I to know the heart and motives of anybody else? It’s complicated enough to resolve my own.
As I’ve prayed and mulled it over, though, I do have a concern over the harsh and rude judgmental statements, as well as the backbiting and bickering among Christians on social media. I can’t see how any of that serves to glorify God? Every believer in Christ has a different perspective on this, I’m sure, but my main concern is non-Christians who are observing our conversation.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~Jesus in John 13:34-35
“Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.” Ephesians 4:29, Amplified
Now I will admit that I hate conflict, even when it’s necessary, but I try not to be a peace faker a cheap gracer or a “always keep it warm & fuzzy” kind of believer. Anyone who’s read my writings, heard me speak or known me in person hopefully sees that. There IS a time and a place to correct, admonish, sternly warn, and God forbid, even shun other believers. Sometimes it must be done publicly, sometimes…as demonstrated throughout numerous times in Scripture (2 Tim. 4:2, 1 Thess 5:14, 1 Tim 5:20, Mark 8:33, 1 Peter 2:14, etc).
How does all of this fit into the culture of social media? If you figure it out, let me know. But I challenge each of us to err on the side of caution if you have a mixed set of people listening in…be prayerful, examine your own hearts, make a difference and speak mostly into the warm bodies in your home, in your church, within your physical reach. And no matter what Truth God leads you to communicate, what cause He puts on your mind to support or argue, what issue burning in your heart to share…“conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” (Col. 4:5-6, NASB)
Yup. Opinions, we all have them, but have we submitted them to the Lord? Are we surrendered to His Truth in love? Here’s a few more Scriptures to bury in our hearts as we continue to pursue faith-filled communication, especially in public forums. I beg you not to skip over them.
Romans 14:1 (ESV)
14 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.
Galatians 5:14-15, (ESV)
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Romans 12:14-21, (NASB)
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse…16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord…21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
1 Corinthians 13:1-7, (NASB)
13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Titus 3:9-10, (NIV1984)
9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.
And though there are many more, take a few moments to read James 3 in context…when I read the whole chapter at one time, it really humbles me and makes me pray to think twice before I open my mouth (or tappety clack on my keyboard).
Sometimes hard Truths have to be shared, and sometimes the salt from our tongues will sting, but oh, dear friends, let’s keep it in check by keeping it in line with the Word of God, remembering that our sovereign, good & loving God is the giver of faith, the granter of knowledge, the only One who can open spiritual eyes, minds & hearts. We are often His means in doing so, but only by His grace and Truth and for His glory. Grace & peace be with you all!
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