I am thinking about taking a Facebook vacation.
As I have been scrolling through the feed and seeing posts from friends – and especially news posts or commentary that is shared – my heart has been heavy.
The dialogue that I see is full of anger and mean-spiritedness. There is no discourse, no debate, no conversation. There is so little respect for others in the words that are chosen. As I see these comments, I wonder if someone would say these things to another person if they were standing in front of them.
Instead of those responses, born out of frustration and or even righteous anger, what if we adopted an attitude of Phillipians 4:8?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)
If I am frustrated or upset, maybe my first response should be to turn my focus to what this passage says – whatever is right and noble and lovely. For me, that is turning to God’s Word first to reset my heart and my mind on Him and what He wants. If I turn to His Word and immerse myself in that loveliness, than I am more likely to let my language and my heart be softened to be more effective in speaking with others.
I think 2 Corinthians has an interesting balance – we have a powerful God whose weapons are not like what the world has – they are even stronger!
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV)
What I have seen is so many ready to fight and argue – which this passage certainly doesn’t prohibit. But are we taking every thought we have captive FIRST to make sure it is obedient to Christ before we speak it out? That is where we seem to have opportunity to focus on the right and lovely and praiseworthy so our witness is most effective.
God gave us words as a powerful tool – they can either build up or tear down. I pray as we celebrate our freedom as a country that we also use that freedom of speech wisely and in a God-pleasing way in the manner in which we speak to others so we can be an effective witness.
– Jen Clark