Ronnie Floyd is president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of BCNN1.
Words hurt people. I have been told for years and found it to be true personally, “Hurt people, hurt people.” When words are used about someone or to someone that defame, demean or degrade them, hurt occurs.
The toxic talk occurring across social media platforms relating to Southern Baptist matters and relationships is inexcusable. Not only is it inexcusable, it is unbiblical. Not one of us is exempt from Jesus’ command in John 13:34 to “Love one another,” nor are we exempt from the words of Ephesians 4:31, “Let all bitterness, anger, and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice.”
Each of us is challenged to a real struggle with the taming of our tongue. Just as stated in James 3:6, “The tongue is a fire … and is itself set on fire by hell.”
Unquestionably, each word we verbalize or write does one of two things as recorded in James 3:9, “With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in God’s likeness.”
Jesus was very clear in His words recorded in Matthew 12:36, “I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak.”
Therefore, knowing this, there must be a better way. Consider these four areas of a better way to conduct ourselves on social media:
— Think first, write second.
— Respect everyone, as each is made in the image of God.
— Share helpful information and encouragement with others.
— Read it again before you send it.
— You do not have to speak to everything.
— Silence from others on an issue does not equal agreement or a lack of concern.
— When your thoughts and feelings are shared related to specific ideologies you may believe, there will be people who agree or disagree with you.
— When disagreement occurs, stay high with ideas, not low with personal feelings and accusations.
— Give the benefit of the doubt to others whose ideas and perspectives you may not completely agree with.
— Discipline yourself to expand your world of thoughts you share, otherwise, you will be viewed as issue-oriented, losing the possible influence you desire.
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Source: Baptist Press