One of the BEST things about the social media is how it gives everyone a voice. One of the WORST things about social media is how it gives everyone a voice. Social media has made it so easy for you and I to rip off a tweet, status update, or blog post about every passing opinion that goes through our minds. As a result, we do lots of talking and little listening in our culture.
James 1:19 says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” This verse is an indictment against the way we’re to prone to live and behave, especially in our culture of 24-hour news cycles and social media. We form fast, strong opinions that we spout despite having painfully limited information.
I don’t know about you, but my feeds are filled with everyone sharing their “two cents” about complex political issues, celebrity shortcomings, and situations surrounding visible Christian leaders. Understand, I don’t have a problem with opinions and public debate. What I think we should all have a problem with are opinions formed without first-hand information.
If we’re not careful, we end up fueling a fire we’re called to extinguish. This is what happens when we’re slow to hear, quick to speak, and quick to get angry. The more we talk, the less we listen. The less we listen, the more we’re liable to harm. We harm by hurling insults and we harm by repeating information that harms. Christians are called to be peacemakers. So, as a general rule, if it doesn’t build up, it shouldn’t be on our lips.
So, what if we spoke less and listened more today? What if we dug deeper and sought to understand, before we labored to be understood? Would it really break the internet to have one less post about about Mark Driscoll, Steven Furtick, or whatever other leader is in our collective crosshairs this week?
This doesn’t mean we don’t learn from what’s happening around us or engage the larger conversation happening within Christianity. The Bible simply demands that our speech build up rather than tear down. We need to ask ourselves...
- Am I trying to build up, or tear down?
- Is this true?
- Do I know for a fact?
- Am I the person to say this?
- What am I trying to accomplish?
- Does this glorify God?
We have to ask these questions. I suck at it but today I want to listen more than I talk and seek to understand more than I seek to be understood. Join me?