A recent Facebook post read, “Good morning, and what are we offended by today?” We are living in a highly-charged political atmosphere. It is amazing to see the amount of mud-slinging found on social media. This does not stop with comments made about candidates for office or current events, but the personal attacks on people who are posting, or responding, because of a candidate they support, or a disagreement on philosophy, policy, or personal belief are at an unprecedented high. Horrible things have been written among professed Christians. Does this kind of behavior build up the church? How do those outside of Christ view us as Christians when we are vicious and back-biting on a public forum?
The meaning of tolerance is changing. The traditional view of tolerance is the ability to disagree with others and yet be able to respect them, giving them the freedom to form their own beliefs and opinions, yet to live peacefully with them, as long as all actions are legal and not dangerous to themselves or others. In today’s culture, tolerance is morphing into another animal. Many people today believe that tolerance means that you will agree with the way others live, think, or believe and support them regardless of personal beliefs, moral values, or biblical views. Some well-known church leaders have started soft-soaping, some even changing, their stated beliefs in order to appear “tolerant”. Can we be tolerant without accepting ideas and beliefs that are contrary to God’s word? Can we disagree with other Christians without resorting to name-calling and mud-slinging?
Our words can be very powerful. The Bible teaches us that we must be careful in what we say and how we say it. We should not say things that cause others to become discouraged or to stir up anger. In Psalm 34:13 we are told to “keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit” and in Proverbs 10:11 that “the mouth of the [uncompromisingly] righteous man is a well of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.” We are further told in Proverbs 13:3 that “He who guards his mouth keeps his life, but he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin” and in Proverbs 15:1 we are instructed to give a “soft answer” because this will turn “away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.”
God’s word teaches us to “…stand firm and hold fast to the traditions andinstruction which you were taught…” (II Thessalonians 2:15). We must understand that while we are expected to “stand firm” in what the Bible teaches us about acceptable ideas and behaviors, at the same time we must carefully consider our words. We should “guard our mouths” and seek the “soft answer,” not allowing ourselves to use “grievous words”.
When posting or responding on social media, our prayer should be the words of Psalm 19:14. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] Rock and my Redeemer.”
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All Scripture quoted from the Amplified Bible (AMP)