Today “At The Well” we’re talking about showing discretion in what we write and read online. Written Words. Words are very important. Words can change lives. Does God care about words–my words? God thought the concept and power of words so important He called His Son, Jesus Christ, the Word. We, as women, have a really bad reputation with regards to our words. It used to be the phrase “there’s a lady present” would be a purifying influence on the men around to “clean up their language”–to not be crude, coarse or vulgar. One of the feminist movement’s advancements was to gain “equality” in this realm, for now women feel free to be every bit as crude, coarse and vulgar as any man born, maybe more. You may be thinking, Oh, well, yes, non-Christian women can be really bad and they should really watch their language. Well, in the areas of coarseness and crudeness and inappropriate words, Christian sisters, so do we. We must show discretion and modesty. There is no place for coarse jesting or off-color inuendo; references to body parts or processes in a Christian woman’s speech. All through this post I will refer to writing and “speech,” but every word applies to us as “readers” and “hearers,” too. We are responsible for what we read and hear, as well. Ephesians 5:2,4,7–“Let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient; but rather giving of thanks…Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:…And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
When you write something, you may feel you are writing for a small, or select audience, but written words and especially what is written on the internet, is not private. My mother used to warn me, “Don’t write it down unless you’re willing for the world to read it.” That is especially true of everything we write online. But what, or Who, should be first in our thoughts as we write: The One we seek to please, and glorify is: the Lord. In light of that, here are 5 points to remember as we write or “speak,” and as we read, or “listen.”
- Fear of the Lord Comes First. Our motivation: in writing, speaking–in life–should be a knowledge of “Thou, God, seest me.” David said, “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned.” We live to please Him. We are His representatives. What makes the internet different?
- Be a Leader in Lovingkindness. Proverbs 31:25-26–“Strength and honor (goodly, glory, beauty, comeliness, excellency) are her clothing…she openeth her mouth with wisdom (knowledge, experience, insight, judgment–always used in a positive sense–which comes out of reverence for the Lord) and in her tongue is the law of kindness (teaching of lovingkindness.) If we bash or speak disrespectfully of our husbands, friends or children, how does that line up with the above words and Proverbs 31:11-12–“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…she will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs has much to say about the tongue. Are my words about others wise? Are they “building up” or “tearing down”–edifying or falling into the category of Proverbs 30:32-33–“If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.” Proverbs 29:11–“A fool uttereth all his (or her) mind; but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” And verse 20–“Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” Proverbs 30:17 talks about our words relating to our parents, and I would include our inlaws in this: The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” (*As an adult married person, our relationship changes from command to one of counsel, however, we need to always respect.) Are our words salt and light? Be careful, also, of flattering one another. I love a glowing comment as well as the next person, and flattering is easy to do out of a pure heart, but the Word of God says, “A man that flattereth his neighbor spreadeth a net for his feet.” (Prov. 29:5) And 28:23, “He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favor than he that flattereth with the tongue.” Instead, let’s praise character or tell the writer how their writing benefited or challenged us.
- Speak with an Eye to Eternity and Recognizing we are in the Endtimes. 2 Peter 3:10-11–“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night: in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt, with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation (words and life) and godliness.”
- Compare Ourselves to Christ, Not Man and Be a Person of Integrity: Let’s aim at being the same person in our writing as in person and not have the attitude that “everyone else is doing it.” 2 Corinthians 10:12–“When we compare ourselves to ourselves we are not wise. “Let such a one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present. For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” Ephesians 5:1–“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.” Proverbs 30:5–“Every word of God is pure.” What should ours be then? Proverbs 30:10–“Accuse not (hurt not with thy tongue) a servant (much less a brother or sister in the Lord) unto his master.
- Seek Peace and Pursue It. 1 Peter 3:8-12–“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous; not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile (Guile=craft: skill in evasion or deception, duplicity, trickery, fraud, foxiness, slyness.) Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue (or pursue) it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
Words are powerful, for good and for evil. God sees our thoughts, and He’s reading our words. Let’s please Him in all we do. “Whether in word or deed, do all to the glory of God.”