There is something of the Wild West that still exists in our cyber world. It’s a bit safer than the actual dusty trails and outlaws. You can usually sit down and use your computer without being threatened by a gunslinger. But I’m not so sure about wordslingers.
I do not have to tell you what a wordslinger is. You’ve seen many of them. I know I’ve been one on more than one occasion. Clever words… insulting words … words that go in for the kill. I’ve written them and read them. I’ve had them directed at me at times. They hurt.
Why do Christians sometimes think that it is acceptable to use words that kill the spirit against other people? Are we ever ‘off duty’ from our Christianity? Why is it OK to say something about someone via a Facebook post or Tweet when we would never say that about them in public? (And why do we not realize that Facebook and Twitter ARE public!)
It is one thing to heartily disagree on a subject that means a lot to us. It is another thing to cut someone to pieces because we feel righteous enough to do so. Did all of those instructions about words in Proverbs disappear because we are typing on a keyboard instead of speaking face to face? What about James’ instructions and teachings about the tongue … do they matter in a cyber world?
Can we not passionately disagree with someone politically without giving them names and assigning them motives?
Can we not observe the really sad choices of a celebrity but instead of cursing them, pray for their soul?
Can we not recognize that humor sometimes goes way too far … and that it somehow morphs into hatred?
Can we not acknowledge religious differences without making eternal epitaphs? Can we treat with respect someone from a different Christian religion? World religion? No religion?
Can we not speak with civility to/about a person who has chosen an alternative lifestyle without giving the impression that we are accepting of their choices?
We can, but too often we would rather draw our guns and shoot them down with the most destructive words we can imagine. We are often found calling people names and dismissing anything good about them so that we can be certain our aim is sure. All from the safety of a monitor and keyboard.
The next time we decide to write something that involves someone else, we need to ask ourselves if the expression of our thoughts honor God. Will those who read it be moved closer to God? Will they be moved to continue to think that many Christians are hypocritical when they talk about loving all people? If we have a doubt, can we consider – before we hit the SEND key – the fact that we are writing about a creature that God loves and Jesus died for?
I’m giving any of you permission to call me on it if you see me pulling out the guns and destroying someone else. This is not what I want for my life…my heart…my testimony. And it’s not what I want for my brothers and sisters as well.