“Out of the abundance of the heart the thumbs tweet.” Steven Furtick
I’d love to take credit for this quote, but I got it from pastor Steven Furtick. I remember when I heard it how it struck me as so true. Pastor Steven can’t take full credit for this quote. The truth is he’s referring to something that Jesus said. In Luke chapter 6 Jesus says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” In other words if your heart is filled with evil, then evil is what will come out and if it is filled with good, then good is what will come out.
This is true of how we handle social media. When we post on social media it reflects what is in our heart, or does it?
What do your posts say about your heart? Jesus said that what comes out of our math will represent what is in our heart. In this day and age this is also true of what we post on social media. When someone that does not know us reads something we post, they have no choice but to assume that that post represents who we are. This is not unreasonable. After all, if it did not represent us, then why would we post it?
As we post stuff on social media we need to keep this in mind. What do our most recent posts say about what’s in our heart? Take a look back at your most recent posts. What do they say about you? What do they say about your heart? I’m not talking about what they say about your head. I’m not talking about what they say about what you THINK. I’m talking about what they say about how you FEEL. Go ahead. Do it. Read your most recent posts and evaluate them as if you were reading a stranger’s posts. What do they say.
Do they really represent you, or just a moment of frustration or anger? One of the problems with the Internet and social media is that it is too easy to respond without thinking. All to often we read something and instantly type a response. Usually this happens without thinking about how it might affect the person it is addressed to or other people reading it. In a moment of frustration or anger we reply or post something that might not truly represent our heart. Then it’s too late. For the people that might read this reply or post, it is our heart. For the reader it is not something said in a moment of anger or frustration, it is a reflection of who we are.
The truth is our replies and posts may be, as Jesus said, an overflow of what is in our heart. But, that’s not always true. Take another moment and consider your most recent posts or replies. Where they done in a moment of anger or frustration, but don’t really reflect your heart? I think we are all guilty of this at times.
What do your posts say to the heart of the reader? Sadly when it comes to written communication how it is received says much more about the heart, or feelings of the reader than that of the writer. Many times I’ve written an email, message or social media post that I intended one way, but was received differently by the person or people reading it. When we read things, we almost always do so with the filter of our feelings.
It’s extremely difficult to separate our feelings from what we are reading. For this reason, things that we write, that we might intend to be harmless or even funny or uplifting, can become negative. I’m certainly not suggesting that you filter every post in hopes of never offering anyone. That’s never been possible, but even less so these days. The truth is that some people go around looking for reasons to be offended. They look for ways to twist everything into something offensive. You can’t make those people happy. Still I think it’s worth taking the time to consider how what you post or how you reply might be viewed by the people reading it.
Be quick to listen and slow to reply. “Everyone should be read to listen and slow to reply and slow to become angry.” This quote I can take credit for… sort of. Actually, like Pastor Steven, this is an adaptation of a passage from the Bible. James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Clearly James is referring to actual speech, but this can also be applied to social media, the Internet and all other forms of communication. We are way to quick to click into reply box and tell people just how stupid they are, or to show them just how smart we are. We are quick to tell people how wrong they are and how right we are. How could the conversations on the Internet change if each person applied the words of James to our online communications?
So, I leave you with these questions:
1.) What do your recent posts say about what’s in your heart?
2.) Do your posts reflect how you REALLY feel or think?
3.) What do your posts say to the people reading them?
4.) Are you quick to listen and slow to speak, or quick to speak and slow to listen?
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