Today’s political environment was the seed for this, but the truth of it extends WAY beyond politics. Frankly I like the BLUNTNESS of the New Living Translation of Proverbs 21:23 “Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.”
I attribute MUCH of the overt nastiness in our culture today to social media. In a somewhat anonymous way can say whatever we want, and don’t have to see (or seem to care) how it may affect another person nor feel any repercussion from our words. “It’s MY OPINION, like it or not!” We can post it, we can “like” it, we can “share” it, we can tweet it. All from the comfort of our tiny, little innocent phone or our computer and there you go – we’ve had our say and I don’t care how it may affect you.
Where does that come from? Where in the life of Christ do we see such a lack of consideration of others? Here in Austin recently 2 Muslim women came into a popular café, a person rudely said a couple of horrible things to them, and they were told perhaps they should leave. One of them loudly asked “Does anybody care about us?” One man stood up and said “No one!” No one said anything else! My Pastor talked about this last Sunday, and he struggled and got a little emotional to honestly say he “hoped” he would have been able to stand up and say “I do!”
Granted, the radical and apocalyptic Muslims who wish to kill all who don’t “believe” are only 10% of all Muslims, but they are the only ones we hear about in the news and so we project what we THINK about them onto ALL Muslims.
I understand why we may think think this way – I get it. But when we bring it home to current politics and the Presidential race, we likewise don’t seem to care what we say and perhaps are even intending to harm others with our words. A common phrase is “NEVERxxxxxxx”. NEVER this Democrat or NEVER this Republican. So if you’re not going to vote, WHY do you keep on talking? If your favorite candidate got eliminated, are you going to pick up your toys and go home? Are you trying to convince others to NOT vote also? On WHAT Biblical principle are you encouraging people to NOT participate in their own governance? Why keep on shouting if you’re of no concern to the outcome since you’re not voting?
Another thing we seem to forget is that there are Christian brothers and sisters who may not agree with us in the political area. You’re saying these harsh things to your fellow Christians! Would you EVER say them to their face? Do you care?
The Bible was written at a time when VERBAL tradition was very big. Not everybody could read and write. NOW when most people are literate, our use of the written word can be every bit as powerful and destructive as what comes out of our mouth. Distance doesn’t lessen the sting of the words.
Are we mindful of what we “say” (post, like, share, tweet, etc.) about others, especially when you consider that some of those “others” are Christian brothers and sisters? You DO realize don’t you that some of your Christian brothers and sisters are black, white, Asian, gay, transgender, vegan, Hell’s Angels (the motorcycle group), and worst of all – elected government officials!
I have a LOT of work to do myself in this area. Sometime life can just warp your perception of others. This question applies just as much or more to me as anyone… “As a follower of Jesus and as a representative of Jesus who’s called to bring light to the world, what should we do and what should we say?”
Think before we speak is more applicable today than it has ever been.