Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Words are Powerful

In the last ten years, communication has drastically changed in my life.

I had a cell phone for three years before I began regularly using texting. 

I wasn't allowed to have a social media profile until I was 18. 
(and at that time the most popular option was myspace- so thank you Mom and Dad for knowing better)

But since beginning college- texting, Facebook, blogging and Twitter have all become a huge part of the way I communicate with others. Part of that is that the general use of and popularity of social media has exponentially increased for everyone. (My grandma has a Facebook now?) 

And as these modes of communication have gained popularity and momentum, there have been obvious abuses of them as with anything in which we humans are left in charge

We, as imperfect beings, have always struggled with treating others in an unloving manner. The difference with the internet, especially Facebook and Twitter, is that its very public. Where someone might have made an inconsiderate comment to a friend or family member before, it is now before the eyes of however many friends or followers they have, making their influence and voice further reaching than ever before. Now I'm not saying that you should put on a fake persona online, while remaining unloving offline. Please don't hear that. Instead I want to highlight the fact that if you claim to follow Christ, remember that it applies to every part of your life. Jesus called us to be radical 

I have witnessed, been victim to and been fighting against abuse, bullying, and passive aggression through social media. I believe as Christians, as women of influence, as people who care about those we reach through our words, we have a responsibility to consider what we write and say and filter it through scripture. 

Scripture warns us time and again that our words can be dangerous and deadly. Or they can be refreshing and life-giving! 

James 3:3-12

 "When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 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. 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. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water."

Proverbs 18:20-21
"Wise words satisfy like a good meal;  the right words bring satisfaction.The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences."

Ladies, our words as powerful! Even if they're witty or funny or smart, are the words we use edifying others? Are they bringing life?

It doesn't matter
if you've had a bad day
if someone wronged you
if you have freedom of speech
if you're frustrated
if you are the funniest person on the planet, at the expense of others
if you have a right to your opinion
if you are justified in saying whatever it is

We are commanded to speak truth in grace. To turn the other cheek. To love like Christ loved us. To forgive because we've been forgiven. To let everything we say "be good and helpful so that we might be an encouragement to those who hear us." (eph 4:29)

This is quite difficult to me. And many times I cannot find something to say that I think would bring glory to God, and so I remain silent. And other times I speak out of my own selfishness, which does nothing to further His kingdom.

How different could things be if every time we used social media we just said a quick prayer that God would guide our words? I believe that I, for one, would think twice about what I say and how I say it. I think that less people would be hurt or offended and that ultimately more love and grace would be shown. 

Do you see an issue with the way we communicate through social media? Do you have any suggestions for keeping yourself or others accountable to representing Christ?


  1. Great post and a great reminder! Social media has definitely changed the way communication works.
    Tiff :)

  2. WOW! I love your heart for this Chels!! =) This is something I have thought over many times when using facebook and other social media, because it is so easy to crack a joke at the expense of others or exclude others through social media. Its such a tough area =)
    Thanks for being brave and writing such a thought-provoking post =)
    Much Love!


  3. I'm so glad that you posted this. I often have trouble thinking before I speak. Our words are SO powerful, and carelessly speaking can have big consequences. I need to remember to pray that God help guide my words, and give me the self control to hold my toungue if need be. Thanks for the reminder :)

  4. Everyone can benefit from reading this post. I agree 100%. When you put something out in public, especially in anger or not thinking beforehand, it can't be taken back. Even if an apology is issued, the original words are ingrained in the minds of all who read it. Love ya girl!

  5. YES. It is so important to think about what we say online and how we say it. I usually don't think before I speak, but social media has trained me to do so (or at least, trained to me to think before I type, haha). I think a good rule of thumb, particularly with passive aggression (this is a huge struggle of mine), is to ask if this is something you'd post if you knew the person would see it. I also ask myself why I'm posting things. A lot of times vague statuses and tweets are for attention, and I know the only person I want to be giving attention to in my social media activity is Christ!


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