Do you remember…did you have these or did you do this in Jr. High school? They were called Slam Books – books that (mostly girls) put together in binders, which had the names of girls in the class at the top of the page (each page with a different name) and then questions about what you thought of this person. Some questions were fairly tame, but some would be such that they would try to get others to write unkind and nasty things about that person. I’m finding that yesterday’s Slambook is today’s Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more – a place we can hide behind our comments and think no one will know we said it.
Recently I have felt ashamed. Ashamed at what I’ve read by people who call themselves Christians. I’ve felt that many of their comments have bordered on or been bullying comments, words that hurt feelings, and all done in the plain view of many non-Christians they would likely claim to want to share the with. I even had some non-Christian friends and family mention how shocked they were at such mean spirited and nasty comments.
But in this modern age of social media, we need to think twice (and some people need to consider it more than twice!) before posting, commenting, liking, disliking (someday if they add it) to our walls and pages, tweets, and instagrams….so that we are not purposely or even unknowingly hurting others, tearing them down, or saying things that are untrue, mean, nasty or would cause others to be further critical. Those of us calling ourselves Christians, need to compose our thoughts, weigh our words carefully, and ASK You for Your guidance as to whether or not our words will be of encouragement or if they are hurtful, and then to choose carefully what we actually write.
We know we have choices and it’s just as easy to be nasty as it is to be nice. It takes no more effort to say the kind words rather than the harsh or nasty ones. We can ask the Lord to help us recognize when our words would be hurtful and then ask for help to make a choice toward wisdom to either not use them or wait for an opportunity to craft them better so it comes from a heart of caring and compassion not just blurting them out or using those words to get even. We need to recognize our nasty tendencies and choose better, as others in social media (including unbelievers) are watching us and wondering if they even want to get to know our Jesus based upon what they are seeing and hearing from us. This is heartbreaking.
We should not think we hide behind paper and pen or computer, as our names accompany our comments. We need to be cautious and encouraging in our words to and for others. I pray we would put ourselves in the shoes of others and try to feel how they might feel if these things were said to or about us. May our words not come back to hurt us, as we are reminded in Psalm 140:9, “As for the head of those who surround me, may the mischief of their lips cover them.”
Like a carpenter is told to measure twice and cut once, we should measure our words twice and speak them kindly once. That one kind comment will encourage another for quite some time, but not as long as a discouraging one will wound a heart for a very long time. Think before writing or speaking. Let’s make our word count for good!