By Patti Jensen
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” -Proverbs 18:21
On any day, any hour, you can get on social media and find someone hurling negative words, attacking a person, an opinion, a group of people, an idea. Just name it.
What was once a place to share family photos, encouraging words, funny stories, and videos, a prayer request… have now become an unending onslaught of negativity. Each negative comment or attack is a stone dropping in the water…creating so many ripples….affecting so many more than we know.
It’s disappointing. At least to me, it is. To see some on my newsfeed who can so easily jump from sharing a scripture to sharing their opinion and attacking someone or some group in our community on a Facebook group is disheartening. Facebook groups that encourage and thrive from negative conversations, the tearing down of our community, our leaders both local and nationally…are becoming popular feeding grounds. And does anyone ever think what this does to our community? To any community? Does anyone ever think what it does to those on the other end of the words?
Whether it is politics, religion, community affairs, education, gossip, …you name it…when did we all decide that everyone needs or wants our opinion?
What is most disappointing is the deafening silence from Christians. Shouldn’t we be the light? Shouldn’t we all be sharing a positive word amid the negative? Shouldn’t we be finding ways to heal our communities from this disease that is causing so much hurt, division, and depression? Instead, for the most part, we are silent. I know I have been. My approach has been to just not engage in the word wars. I don’t belong to those negative Facebook groups. But still…I am silent. And the word war rages on.
What is more surprising to me is that so many women are taking part in the verbal attacks. I don’t mean to sound sexist in any way, but shouldn’t Christian women be the ones to NOT be taking part in the negative comments? Shouldn’t we be the ones who find ways to turn those conversations away from the negative? To offer a kind word, a word to turn the conversation, …anything?
I’m not sure what the answers are. I do know that it isn’t healthy. It isn’t healthy for our communities. It isn’t healthy for those who are the targets of the attacks. It isn’t healthy for those who just jump on and read all of the negativity. It really isn’t healthy for those taking part in the negativity. And I have to believe it isn’t healthy for our Christian walk. We can’t possibly feel close to God when we take part in those activities whether as one who comments or a passive reader.
I do think that the first thing we can do is pray. Pray before we decide to share our “opinion”. Pray for our communities. Pray for those who are so negative and seem to enjoy tearing others down. They obviously have something that is hurting them as well. Hurt people hurt others.
I get it. These are very stressful days in our world right now. So many unknowns and fears. And when people are frustrated and scared they lash out. But in the middle of all of the unknowns is God…a very known God…who knows all. The One who we should all be turning to in prayer rather than trolling Facebook for a place to share our opinion.
Our community, our churches, our families, will all be the product of the words we speak over them. Let’s remember that the next time we jump on social media with a snarky comment, a probing question, a passive-aggressive attack, an all-knowing opinion.
Instead, could we make a pinky promise to one another to do better? When given the chance to be positive or negative, to be positive? When deciding whether to rant or rave, to offer up a rave?
Remember what our moms always told us…if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Colossians 4:6
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
Patti Jensen is the writer and creator of the lifestyle blog “A Grateful Girl” which features encouragement, a focus on gratitude with some lifestyle tips and recipes thrown in for good measure! Patti is married to Jack and has two daughters, two great sons-in-law and a new granddaughter, Georgia Grace. You can find her posts on Instagram and Facebook and on her blog at http://www.agratefulgirl.com.
I welcome you to reach out to me by messaging me on Facebook. I would love to connect!
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