I recently read an article on Relevant‘s website titled, “When did Christians get so mean?” I will keep my own blog post short today because I am hoping many of you will follow the link and read the article for yourself. I have written on this subject before, and I’m sure I will write on it again, especially when we hit an election season!
The times we live in are unprecedented. Information and communication happens at a speed that the world has never known before. History has always been a predictor of the future, but technology has created a new category which has no history associated with it.
People used to write letters with pen and paper. Those letters took time to write, time to send and therefore time was given to what would be said. Our letters were sent to a certain person and we could be fairly confident that those words would be kept private. It took time to write the note, time to address it and time to send it. You can probably think of a few notes that never got mailed, because the time it took gave you time to think and time to reconsider the message.
Now our words are typed, texted or videoed at an alarming speed. Messages are sent in the heat of the moment that would never have been sent, if we had taken time to think. Notes can be sent anonymously using an unknown e-mail address or name. Our words can be forwarded to people we would never have said them to, and to people we can’t trust to use them correctly. Interestingly, there is a new accountability for all of us who call ourselves Christians.
Paul said, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29). That one verse should change a few things in our conversations and in what we type and text. But, rather than shrug shoulders and feel burdened by that fact, let it be an opportunity to live a higher, more set apart life.
We at the Denison Forum believe that technology has given us a brand new mission field and a powerful way to bring God’s word to people who might never have run across it otherwise. All of us living today have opportunities that Paul would have been thrilled to have. I honestly think if the apostle Paul were alive today he would be a frequent user of technology. (It would have saved him a few boat rides!)
However, nothing will ever take the place of sharing actual time and conversation with another person, while physically present in the same place. Technology has limited our “need” of spending that time together and that may not always be a good thing.
The point of the Relevant article, and the point of this blog post are the same. Christians have an amazing responsibility and an amazing opportunity to share the truth about God, the truth about salvation in Christ and the grace of God’s love. The crucial thing to remember is that we share that truth, or invalidate that truth, every time we open our mouths or open up a conversation on a computer screen, cell phone or any other time we author words.
How will you say or write words that are “helpful for building others up according to their needs” and words that “benefit those who listen?” Are you a “mean Christian” or are you helpful and beneficial to God’s message? Today is a great day to choose your words carefully. Tomorrow will be your next chance.