This post first appeared on Seriously Write.
Our words are powerful. They’re able to help or to destroy. We can speak Christlike words of life to those around us and write them to our readers, or we can extinguish all hope, devastate our listeners/readers, and bring emotional destruction.
In James 3, the brother of Jesus likens our words and our inability to tame them to:
- a fire with the ability to be useful or to burn down a forest.
- a small bit in the mouth of a large horse controlling that animal for good or for ill.
- a rudder that steers a massive seafaring vessel into fair waters or into a storm.
With our words, we’re able to assist, to guide, or to steer others toward harm or toward good. Which are we doing? Our faith is shown by our actions (James 2:17, 22, 24). This includes the words that come out of our mouths and the words that flow from our keyboards.
How can we be wise with our words?
Before posting or tweeting, writers have the ability to pause to consider what the Lord would have us to write and to determine what is pleasing to him. We can take time to reflect and to pray, thus allowing our emotions to calm. We can ponder how our words might impact others.
After taking time to consider, we’re typically able to respond wisely. If not, more time is needed. We can step away to patiently exam the matter in more depth.
During this pandemic, we’ve encountered issues we’ve never before faced in our lifetimes. Decisions are handed down by government-appointed health officials, and we all seem to differ on how to respond, what to do, and what not to do about these guidelines. Strife over this has broken out in our churches, our neighborhoods, our families, and within our circle of friends. To this, racial conflict has been added after the violent death of George Floyd. Discussions and words have grown heated.
What’s a Christian writer to do?
“A person is justified by works and not by faith alone,” James 2:24b tells us, meaning that we’re proven to be believers or unbelievers by our deeds, including our words. The content of our hearts spills out in our actions and our words, both verbally and in our written posts and tweets.
Therefore, as Christian writers, we must constantly probe our hearts to decipher our true motives. Are we led by the Lord? We must also determine whether the issue we feel so strongly about is worth dissecting publicly, or if we’re far too vehement to state our viewpoint kindly and gently, yet firmly. How would the Lord have us tackle the matter?
If we lack perspective on an issue, because it’s intensely personal, we must question ourselves before posting, maybe even obtaining another’s opinion. When emotions are high, we write strong words of truth, not backing down from what is right, yet tempering our words with gentleness and concern for the soul to whom we write. We ask ourselves:
Have we used Christlike words that are sound and true, demonstrating love and kindness?
We’re Christians. Will we treat others the way we would like to be treated? Can we discern their needs, as if we were living through the other’s situation or experiencing the heartache they must bear? In person or in print, will we speak as we would like to be spoken to?
As writers, let’s use words of wisdom, pausing to allow an unkind retort to fade away and not to be sent out into the wider world when interacting on social media.As writers, let’s use words of wisdom, pausing to allow an unkind retort to fade away and not to be sent out into the wider world when interacting on social media. #WritingCommunity #KindnessMatters Click To Tweet
Let’s write words that will challenge, convict, and uplift our readers to pause, to think, to speak kindly, to love one another, and to do to others as we would like done to us.Let’s write words that will challenge, convict, and uplift our readers to pause, to think, to speak kindly, to love one another, and to do to others as we would like done to us. #WriterLife #KindnessMatters Click To Tweet
Let’s write words that aim our readers toward trusting the Lord and keeping the interests of others first. Let’s live, speak, and write in ways that please Christ, using Christlike words.Let’s write words that aim our readers toward trusting the Lord and keeping the interests of others first. Let’s live, speak, and write in ways that please Christ, using Christlike words. #WritingCommunity #KindnessMatters Click To Tweet