Social media like owning a pet dragon. At times it’s big & wonderful and then, suddenly, it can burn someone to a crisp! I’ve been toasted like a over-cooked marshmallow and I’m sure I’ve incinerated a few people too. It’s so easy to ‘speak our minds’ boldly and carelessly through a twitter post, facebook update, instagram pic, blog comment or text message. It’s faceless and, far too often, heartless.
It’s so easy to over-react to another person’s words and jump to horrible conclusions! And, before we know it – like flame-thrower – we torch them with judgmental, harsh, third-degree burns! Yeah, they’ll heal but probably not without a scar. They may even get a dragon of their own and return the flames right back at you!
Oh, sure, we can call it a healthy debate or open discussion but it’s usually more about our pride than our purity. There are no winners in faceless rants and one-sided rebukes. In fact, you can be right and still be wrong. The Word of God tells us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). And, Jesus is BOTH truth and love, this means that we should present our words as Jesus would – in complete humility, desiring the very best outcome for all who hear.
As we read on in Ephesians 4, something jumps out at us:
“Watch the way you talk (type/text). Let nothing unwholesome come out of your life. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit. Don’t break God’s heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.” v. 29-30 MSG (words inserted by me).
Friends, let’s not allow this dragon – which we think we can control – to get the best of us and burn others. The Holy Spirit is grieved when we lack self-discipline and use our words like weapons. I know it’s easy to dismiss it saying “well, if they’re offended it’s their problem” – and, yeah, maybe sometimes we are all a bit too thin-skinned but that’s still not permission to be ugly, arrogant or defiant. In most cases where others are burned, we shared in the offense (even when they doused gasoline on themselves). Sometimes all it takes is a small spark to begin a destructive inferno…
Use social media but don’t let social media use you.
Face to face communication is still best, and voice to voice is still a better option than tweeting something – meant for one person – into the cyber world. Don’t be lazy or cowardice – instead, love enough to do what’s best for others…
God’s Word, Prayer and obedience will ALWAYS help grow maturity in this area (and all other areas). Before you tweet, update, post, blog, comment or text; run it by Jesus, test it with the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to make your words life-giving rather than heart-scorching.
Letting go of the dragon… Chilly