Our words…matter

Words spoken, whether face-to-face, electronically, or posted online through social media…matter.

We will be called into account for the words we speak, post, or “like.” Whatever we “like” or endorse on social media, is no different than giving literal voice and assent to the conversation and its content.

Sometimes we forget this.

Our world offers us a multitude of social media platforms to post our words and thoughts. This can occur out of emotion, instantly and spontaneously with little thought given to what we are saying or endorsing.  Observing social media testifies how numbed and inoculated one can become by forgetting the power of words.

Quite frankly, it can be quite disheartening to observe words, posts, and “likes” by persons who testify of being followers of Christ. Yet, the words, chatter, or context surrounding the post are put out there for the world to see—forever—and are often far removed from the Gospel that I know and love.

Sometimes the “likes” I observe by well-meaning believers carry racist and ethnic undertones, chastise the marginalized, promote self-preservation, and are often laced with judgement and full of fear.

I wonder, how can this be?

Such posts are contrary to how Jesus lived, what He taught, and what He asks of those who choose to follow Him.

Jesus says, “from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”

What is our heart speaking?

As a pastor, I am continually reminded that the words I use and how I use them…matters, whether in public or in private. This is continually before me whether engaging in casual conversation over coffee, preparing a sermon, writing an email, texting, or even posting a blog such as this. I find it needful to weigh each word carefully, ensuring that the words I am communicating are true, the message sound, and also considering how I will be heard. I am constantly asking myself: Is this word God-honoring and affirming of the faith witness and values of myself personally, and the church I am representing.

I often observe business, sports, and political leaders, when making a statement or having a press conference, are meticulous in carefully choosing their words and message. One reckless or miscalculated word can quickly end a career, cause their stock to tumble, or put an entire company and its mission at risk.

If words and endorsements pack so much power in the secular marketplace, surely, the same is true for all who represent Christ in our words and posts.

What might the secular have to teach the spiritual about the power of words?

Are we careful in our words spoken and posted, and in what we endorse through our “likes”?

I am reminded of the words of Jesus, appealing to His followers “I am sending you as sheep among wolves, therefore, be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Jesus was appealing to a wise and faithful witness, including words.

Words matter…whether spoken, emailed, texted, posted, tweeted, googled, yelped, skyped, you tubed, snapchatted…

You get the picture.

Assuming Jesus is your “friend” on social media, do your words, posts and “likes” square with who Jesus is in all that you speak, post, and endorse as a friend of Jesus?

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8-9 The Message