Dr. Allen Domelle
“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never harm me.” This is the old rhyme that children often repeat to show their toughness when others are calling them names. However great this rhyme may sound, it is one of the biggest lies that comes from anyone’s lips. Words do harm, and what we say will hurt. Whether or not we mean what we said, we should always be careful about the words that come from our mouth.
Proverbs 10:11 says, “The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” God wants the Christian to be a person who speaks words that encourage and are a “well of life” to those who hear them. God shows the power of the tongue in James 3:5-6 when He says, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” The tongue is powerful enough to be a blessing to someone, but it is also powerful enough to hurt and destroy others. Certainly, we should always be careful with what we say.
However, there are times when our fingers are doing the talking. With the emergence of social media and digital technology, people are talking more with their fingers, and what their fingers are saying is often something that doesn’t bring glory to God. Sadly, our fingers will often say things that we would never say in a person’s presence. It is easy to be bold behind the keyboard of a computer or smart phone, and many boldly say things that they often regret. Let me ask you, are your fingers defiling who you are? Are your fingers setting “on fire the course of nature?” Are your fingers kindling unnecessary fires? What is sad is that the world reads what we say, and they are often turned off with Christianity because of the venom that comes from our fingers. Let me give you several things that should be a guide when it comes to guarding what your fingers say.
1. Are your fingers glorifying the LORD with what they are saying?
Everything that a Christian does is to bring glory to God. 1Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” We often hear the importance of living our lives in such a manner that it brings glory to God, and that is true. We also hear how every word that comes from our lips should bring glory to God, and again, that is true. However, what our fingers are saying should also bring glory to God. Your fingers can negate how you live and what you say if you don’t control them. Before you ever decide to post something on social media, ask yourself if it will bring glory to God.
2. Don’t be hasty with what you say.
Proverbs 29:20 says, “Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.” One of the bad things about social media is that it is so accessible. We often put something out on social media well before we have thought about what we are saying. Let me encourage you to be slow in posting controversial statements on social media. We live in times when people are trying to make a name for themselves by making the brashest or boldest controversial statements when in reality they are showing their lack of self-control. Saying something for the sake of getting people into arguments is foolish and wrong. Posting adverse statements towards or about an individual is not only wrong, but it is foolish. As much as you are not to be “hasty” with the words you verbalize, you should also not be “hasty” with the words you say with your fingers.
3. Don’t settle differences with your fingers.
Proverbs 21:23 says, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” One of the things that disturbs me is how people argue over social media. Friend, it does nobody any good to know your dirty laundry. If you have problems with a person, the Scriptures teach that you should go to them and settle it in private. Even if you couldn’t settle your differences in private, you are never to go public with them. The only thing you accomplish by bringing your differences to the public arena through social media is to cause greater hurt. You are more than likely going to make your situation worse and cause irreparable damage to a relationship that could be salvaged if choose to expose your difference on social media.
4. Don’t react to what people say about you.
Proverbs 17:27 says, “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.” One of the things I have tried to follow is that I never respond to what others say about me. I know that many of my detractors try to lure me into an online squabble, but the LORD’s work is much more important. Just because someone says something about you doesn’t mean that you have to respond. You would be wiser to spare your words and keep an “excellent spirit.” I’ve learned that I can better guard my spirit by not responding to what others say about me.
5. Use the Philippians 4:8 guide with what your fingers say.
The only thing that we are to think upon are things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praise worthy. If this is what the LORD wants us to think upon, it would also be a good guide to use to determine what our fingers say. The next time you are tempted to let your fingers say something, run what you want to say through the filter of Philippians 4:8 and see if it passes. If it doesn’t pass, don’t say it!
6. Let your fingers only say what would portray Christ in an honorable manner.
1 Corinthians 4:9 says, “…we are made a spectacle unto the world.” Christian, the world sees what we post on our social media accounts. They see the foolishness of what we say, and it poorly portrays Christ to them. Always be sure that no matter what you say, share or post is something that portrays Christ honorably. Don’t allow your fingers to be the culprit of bringing reproach to the name of Christ.
7. Don’t let your fingers say anything that you will later want to delete.
Proverbs 10:19 says, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” It is better to be a person who posts fewer words than one who posts everything you think. You may be able to delete a post, but you can’t delete the negative you sewed in those minds who saw what you posted. Always remember that someone is going to see what you post no matter how quickly you take it down. Guard your fingers by asking yourself if what you are about to post is something that you may have to delete. If there is a question about whether you may have to delete it, or if there is a question about whether you might regret what you are about to post, it is best not to post it.
Christian, your words are powerful. Even though your fingers can’t say anything audibly, the words they write or type are as powerful as the audible words your mouth speaks. Always remember that your fingers are talking every time you post something. Be sure that what your fingers say is something that would bring honor and glory to the LORD.
“Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God; such alone will shake the gates of hell.” -John Wesley