Be slow to speak (or tweet, or post on Facebook…)
The Bible cautions us to not open our mouths too quickly - the same applies to social media.
Sadly, it is bushfire season in Australia.
It is horrible to see the damage done, even lives lost. But it is even harder to cope when we know that some of these blazes have been deliberately lit. But before I get angry at others for starting these bushfires, I need to ask myself if I have started any fires lately.
What am I talking about? I'm talking about the power of our words.
James 3:5-6 says:
Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
It is supposedly a noble and brave thing these days to speak whatever words are on your mind. We are often told that we need to be assertive in saying what we think. And with social media we can say what we think easily, quickly and loudly (the whole world is listening!).
However, God warns us to use caution. Our words - whether spoken, written, texted, tweeted, whatevered - need to be brought under control and kept under control. We should be slow to speak (James 1:19) and keep a tight rein on what we say (James 1:26), otherwise, we deceive ourselves and our religion is worthless.
So be careful with your words. Proverbs 10:19 is a verse that we need to hear in our social media age:
When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Words are too powerful to use lightly, too important to waste. Great caution is needed whenever we open our mouths or begin to type on a keyboard or phone.
Stop and think before you speak or tweet.
The fact that we communicate so often today, and do so before so great an audience, should cause us to tremble.