It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the wisdom of man to search it out. I have been thinking about Facebook and how it arrogantly prompts you at the top of your page to write whatever is on your mind. Social media is a bit like drinking. Our better judgment is down and we tend to let things fly perhaps a bit much.
Before social media it seemed like we had a little bit of how should I say this, discernment?
With social media prompting us to share our every whim is it any wonder that our world is an angrier more offended place? Remember what mother used to say? If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. We seem to have lost our social filters. We seem to have lost concepts like “appropriate” and “lewd”and “wisdom”.
3 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 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. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (James 3)
The fact that we record, repeat and broadcast our every thought might be the reason our country is on fire. When we do not stop and think. We forget to consider the other person. When we think like this we rarely evaluate our speech. We are more concerned with how our argument flows rather than should we even be saying this. Well with so many people already not taming the tongue as James encourages it seems like it requires more untamed tongues to answer the raging fire doesn’t it?
All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing. (Eccles 1:8)
There is always going to be more to see, more to hear and much more to anger us. There will always be more to comment on. The truth is we do not have to respond in kind. I can read your comment and move on with my life. I can hear you veiled cruelty and move on with my life. I can see your subtle bigotry and not lose sleep over it. Or I can unplug and not be a part of the system. But the flood gates have literally been thrown open haven’t they? It is a bit wearing when the constant flow is people just letting fly there every thought no matter how unchecked it may be. The nature of twitter seems to be attack. A biting response is only finger tips away and we have proven that we cannot handle this power. I doubt we can go back to a time when people thought things through before they said anything. This seems to be especially so in this season of people trying to be the better Christ follower by how they vote.
Our culture has transformed into digital tit for tat. Knowing how to comment cleverly and stinging-ly is a basic skill that all of us have now. How can we unlearn bulldozing?
Unfortunately Christianity is no better. The posts of attack and retort over the presidential candidates has proven that even we cannot handle this power. How easily now can the media place an enemy before our eyes and we bite? We react without fact checking, the kind of thing you get marked down for in college. Cite your sources they say, in others words do some research! Make sure this is true before you repeat it! We have to fact check our presidential debates now!
We should probably tone down our rhetoric if we actually want to reach people. Probably realize that our rant isn’t going to change anybody and perhaps we can return to the honest dialog among people with whom we have influence and relationship. We will never convert anybody to our side in any matter if our method is attack. Let’s remember that after this season we all have to sit by each other in church again. Let’s engage in conversation that welcomes and encourages. The kind that acknowledges brothers especially when differing opinions are possible. That kind of communication that actually matters. The kind that understands we are brothers and sisters in Christ.
Maybe there should be a prompt over the top of Facebook that reads “Should you really share what is on your mind today? Maybe like God we should conceal a few more of our matters? But what do I know, I am just reacting.