Before I started my blog, I did not have much presence on social media. I had a Facebook account that I used quite a bit. I had a twitter account that I never really used and that was pretty much it. Since the blog, I have become more active on Twitter and a few other social networks sharing my blog posts. The thing that has amazed me is the meanness. If it were kids exchanging content we would call it cyber bullying, but I assume these are adults, although I could be wrong.
The thing I have been struggling with is the meanness and crudeness people are willing to stoop to when they can hide behind a keyboard. God has laid it on my heart with the latest back and forth shots in the political arena. I guess it hit hard after the group of congressmen were shot at and two men were in critical condition and no one took a breath. I am not picking a side here I am seeing.
As I watched the news over the past few weeks and watched the tweets and talking newscasters I could not help but think, “No wonder our kids think this is an acceptable way to communicate or harass one another.” Adults, and seeming “Role Models” do it every day.
Prayer for Guidance
I kept praying for some insight into this issue, and asking God if I should even write about it. I kept asking for guidance in His Word. The first few days were just muddled, but yesterday James 3 came to mind and today Proverbs and more in James.
The first, James 3:5-12 was powerful for me, and it is preached a lot.
In the first of James 3 he speaks of power of the tongue to do great harm.
James 3:5-12 (ESV) 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
I read this passage and I think at all the things we have done to amplify the power of the tongue and increase it range of influence from megaphones to movies, and TV to text messages and now we have social media.
I read on in James to verses 13-18 and for the first time and saw the link to the taming of the tongue.
James 3:13-18 (ESV) Wisdom from Above
This wisdom that James speaks of will show itself in how we control our tongue.
James 3:13-18 (ESV)
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
I read this passage by James and it is clear. If I am listening to the Holy Spirit and relying on the wisdom from God rather than my own selfish desires the fruits I bare will show it. There will not be the harsh and selfish words described in verses 14-15 or in 5-12, “17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
I read over chapter 3 several times and it just was so clear to me that the only way that we could tame our tongue was with the wisdom of God. When we allowed the passions of the world to interfere and take control selfish desires flowed from our lips. I know that when I was lost I had a vicious tongue.
I could nearly draw blood with my words and the facial expressions that came with the words were just as intimidating; just ask my kids.
I give thanks every day that man is dead and I am a new man in Christ Jesus. I look in His Word and give thanks for His Wisdom He shares from on high every day.
Here are just a few examples of what he teaches us every day and it is not so far away that we cannot reach it.
James 1:19-21 (ESV) 19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Proverbs 10:19 (ESV) 19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
Proverbs 17:27-28 (ESV) 27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
This world we live in is filled with darkness and selfishness. It is hard when we feel wronged or we hear something that we believe is unjust to sit and remain calm. We want to lash out like Peter when Jesus was arrested and cuts somebodies ear off, but that is not what Jesus wants from us. It is clear in His Word. By ourselves we cannot hold back our passions, but with the Holy Spirit in us all things are possible.
Lord, I pray for your strength to contain the passions that come when I see injustice and help me to address things as you would have me do it. Help me not lash out but hold fast in Your wisdom in all that I do. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.