Social media + our tongues = ?!

Taming the tongue

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Ephesians 4:29

Did you know that by July this year twitter will turn 7 years old and by September Facebook will turn 7 as well? Twitter was available for public use on 15 July 2006 and Facebook on 26 September 2006. With facebook and twitter many people can share something about themselves, what is important to them and what they are experiencing with “the whole world” just about anytime and almost anywhere, instantaneously. How amazing is that? Who would have imagined that this was possible even 10 years ago? With this amazing technology also comes the risk of sharing things that shouldn’t or needn’t be said let along shared. You may have personally experienced or even read in the news of people “over sharing” or posting “too much information”. And such sharing can lead to real pain and sometimes serious conflict. Even though the Bible was written to and for people living from 900BC to the 1st century AD, it still is strikingly relevant for us today in relation to what we say and how we say it. Technology and the way we live might have changed since the 1st century but the nature of people hasn’t. Conflict happened then and conflict happens now. Families and countries fought then, and families and countries fight now. The desire to get our own way happened then and remains now and we still often start or continue a conflict with what we say to others. Did you know that there are 137 verses in the Bible that speak about the tongue and what we say? Here are some of them…

  • Those who guard their mouths and their tongues
 keep themselves from calamity. Proverbs 21:23
  • A gentle answer turns away wrath,
 but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
  • The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
 but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
  • 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. 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 body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being 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 human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3:2-10 (ESV)
  • Keep your tongue from evil
 and your lips from telling lies. Psalm 34:13
  • Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. James 1:26
  • Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,
 and discerning if they hold their tongues. Proverbs 17:28
  • For, “Whoever would love life
 and see good days 
must keep their tongue from evil
 and their lips from deceitful speech. 1 Peter 3:10

With the advent of not only email but various forms of social media – we need to be just as careful about what we type before we press “send” or “post” or “tweet” as we are about what comes directly out of our mouths. What we say does matter and is important. We should say, along with the Psalmist:  “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”  (Psalm 141:3) But do you know what drives what we say? Jesus said “for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Matthew 12:34) So the question really is … what is your heart full of?    It’s a question worth pondering for more than a second.