Two friends laughed and told me they’re about to start going through a Bible study called Keep It Shut. According to Amazon, it’s about knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to say nothing. I think we could all go for a dose of that.
Sometimes I wish that we Christians would just keep our mouths shut.
I hate to keep blaming the internet, but do you remember the days before the internet, when people had a sense of respect for each other? When there were certain rules of common courtesy that the vast majority of people upheld? Remember back when we didn’t feel compelled to share our opinion about every single thing that is brought up?
Polite has taken a backseat to argumentative. Kind has been overruled by sarcastic. Meek and mild have been squashed by loud and assuming.
Honestly, I grow weary of seeing the words rant over at the end of Facebook posts. The truth is that the ranting is never over. We are ranters. And, we delight in complaining. And, we are so easily offended. And, we can never just silently get over anything.
The instant gratification of the social media world has caused us to be validated in our stupid opinions and our ungodly attitudes. We get likes when we’re being sensational. We get shares when we are being petty. We get good-for-yous when we describe how we chose to be unforgiving and lacking in mercy.
And, this bad thinking and bad heart-state spills right over into real life, where we claim some sort of non-existent rights for ourselves. The right to be a know-it-all. The right to embarrass people. The right to give harsh answers where we should be soft. As a culture we are experiencing an epidemic of thinking that our opinions are critical and that they deserve to be heard in every setting.
But, in Christianity, nothing should please us about speaking harshly to people, whether online or in person. Nothing should be satisfying about being cold and hard and punishing. It should grieve us when we have been cruel to people, but not only are we not broken-hearted by our damaging actions, we get on Facebook and Twitter and our blogs and tell the whole world about them with pride.
We need a dose of humility. We need a big ole spoonful of shut it. And, I should be the first in line with a ladle in my hand.
Oh, and, uh….rant over.
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