The world seems to be in constant communication these days. Whether the person is right next to you or across the globe, we can talk with each other. Cell phones are keeping us in contact not only anywhere but at any time. Then there is the internet and all its many facets from email to social media to blogging. Does it ever strike you that we have this incredible, and fast way to spread God’s Words and to share His love with each other at our fingertips? Or, does it strike you how easy it is to tear someone down without having to see the hurt on their faces?
The internet gives us greater and faster power to spread a
message across the globe in only a moment. That is impressive and a wonderful way to
spread God’s gift of love and grace to millions- and yet, we use it so much
more often to spread hurt and incendiary speech without thinking about the
people we’re reaching or how it will affect them. Emotions that might have been
written out in a lengthy letter then ripped up and thrown away when we realized
how harsh we are, have been replaced by typing and hitting enter within the same
minute we got emotional. With the ease of writing it out and hitting enter, it
seems we spend less time worrying about the filter our communication is supposed
to go through.
More than verbal communication should be filtered through God’s Word. Almost especially our written, or typed in this case, communication should be looked at through the lens of Scripture instead of letting emotions dictate what we say and how we say it.
For me, these verses immediately come to mind…
25 Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the Devil an opportunity. 28 The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. 29 No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
It is easy to allow our emotions to respond for us online without stopping to think about how what we say might be taken on the other end. Inflammatory news articles and a willingness to debate anything a friend says on Facebook may have us feeling like we “gave a defense for the hope that is within us” (1 Peter 3:15-16), but if we did so at the expense of someone else’s heart then we did it for our own glory and not God’s.
Even when we must disagree with someone it is possible to let grace and a willingness to believe the best be the guide for how we proceed. When others are being harsh toward us we have an opportunity to let Christ’s love shine into their lives by being gracious and forgiving instead of easily offended and spiteful. In some instances this might be the thing that leads them closer to Jesus, and, as it says in Proverbs, in others this will only be heaping coals on their head as they get angry that you are sharing love instead of stooping to verbal abuse.
If our words in person are gentle, but our speech online is harsh and unfiltered by grace then we are not communicating love and we are sinning with our speech. Just because we cannot see the other person’s face does not mean that there is not another human, another person made in the image of God, at the other end of that connection.
No matter the mode, our communication should always be marked by grace.
I'm Rebecca, a Christian, wife, and mother of three. I lived wrong for a long time, got pretty well slapped with the reality of how sanctifying marriage and motherhood are, and now I am hoping to help others to hold on to Jesus in all the hard parts of life.