So, I’ve posted before on the mixed feelings I have about facebook. Suffice it to say we have a love/hate relationship. While I enjoy and appreciate perusing through pictures of friends of mine with their families, celebrations such as graduation, weddings, birthdays and the like, I do not enjoy all the bragocious, mean-spirited, derogatory postings. Long before internet was around, I vividly remember a conversation between my Mom and me in our kitchen. This was back in the days of hand-written communication. My Mom was cautioning me about being careful what I put in writing because once it’s out there, it’s there forever. I was a big letter writer and while I cannot recall the issue for the conversation, her point was well taken. All the more her wisdom is applicable in the age of email, facebook, and all the rest.
Imagine my angst this morning as I’m quickly scrolling through the posts on our town’s facebook page when I came across someone claiming to be agnostic. His post was asking if there were any others like him in our town. Upon reading the initial post, my heart was sad for someone who seemingly is lost and doesn’t know my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I don’t know the gentleman who stated his claim, but my heart was heavy nonetheless. What really stirred me up were the comments made in reply to his post. So many rude, ugly opinions mocking the Lord. I had a knee-jerk reaction to post my thoughts and why I am a believer in Jesus Christ, but thought better of it. While I want to defend my beliefs, I am reminded that the majority of the naysayers are non-believers, acting out of their disbelief. Whatever I may say in defense of my faith isn’t going to convert them, at least not in that (facebook) setting. In fact, any comment I make will most likely only turn them off even more. I concluded that I will list their names and add them to my prayer list asking God to open their eyes to His truth, no longer blinded by disbelief. He may choose to use me in some way at some point in these folks’ lives, or not.
It was then that I was reminded of my kitchen conversation with my Mom all those years ago, cautioning me to be mindful of what I write, say, and how I respond. In whatever form it is communicated, it is out there forever. God’s Word teaches that we should guard our tongues, measure our words, and be aware of the condition of our heart. There is life and death in our words therefore, we should be take seriously what comes out of our mouths.
Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.(Proverbs 18:21, HCSB)
A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. (Luke 6:45, HCSB)
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14, HSCB)
Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body. (Proverbs 16:24, HCSB)
The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding. (Proverbs 17:27, HCSB)
Obviously, watching what we say (write, text, post), can be a teachable moment with our children. I’m astounded when I see posts, even pictures, that people make (children, young people, and adults too!) which will stay around forever. I often think how mortified I’d be if I saw my mother wear, speak, post, even blog such things; some details are meant to remain private. It is as if these folks are oblivious to the repercussions these postings will have on them, not to mention their own children one day. Our modern day social media doesn’t allow for enough editing, in my opinion. We tend to press “post” before we really realize what we’ve done. With children, even young people, they lack discernment. Utilize opportunities to teach younger folks how careful we must be to prevent compromising character, even making regrettable mistakes that could very possibly haunt them forever. Philippians 4:8 is an excellent reminder of how to handle ourselves and possibly protect our reputation:
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.