Monday, August 15, 2011

Living Out Loud

     We live in an age of communication.  Cell phones, text messaging, "tweets", "My Space", "Facebook", "Kindle" readers and other devices make reaching out an easy thing to do.  Public networking sites  make it simple to keep in touch with family and friends by exchanging pictures and sharing stories or videos.  Sometimes we enjoy reading what is happening in the life of a friend and sometimes it is "too much information".  While all of this seems like fun and a great way to keep up to date, there are several things that we need to keep in mind as believers.

     In his letter to the believers at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul penned solid instructions for the church in terms of keeping the unity of the body and in dealing one with another.  He instructs them to put away falsehood (Ephesians 4:25) and then in verses 29-32 he expands on the area of communication:  "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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."  This is how we will show the world that we belong to Christ!  When we put off the old self, we are to wear these new garments of change that should affect every area of our lives...especially how we communicate with one another.  

     I have seen on blogs, news groups and other Internet places some pretty nasty things being written by people at times.  Of course, the hard part about the written word
is that you do not have the person there in front of you to see the expression on their face or hear the tone in their voice.  Many times, people take the written word the
wrong way as well.  That is one area my mother frequently warned me about when I was growing up.  She always encouraged me to talk face to face with another person rather than write a note which could be taken the wrong way.  It has proven to be good advice.  Therefore, as believers, I think we have to look at all the public avenues of communication and make a decision to reflect God's grace in the things we say.  We need to ask ourselves if what we are about to share on "Facebook" or in a tweet will build others up or tear them down.  Is our language appropriate so that if Jesus were to read it, He would approve?    Remember the Scripture above.  We are to put away falsehood, slander, wrath and malice.  We are to give grace through our words whether spoken or written.  So, whether we like it or not, all the public ways we communicate are part of our total witness for Christ.  

     Perhaps the greatest concern we should have as followers of Christ is the amount of time we spend in these public forms of communicating as versus the time we spend
talking to God.  We do not need a wireless connection, cell phone contract or other assistance to reach out and touch God.  He is there all the time waiting to hear our cries
and concerns.  He desires to have sweet communion with us, but I often think we neglect talking to Him and spend more time asking the opinions of our peers.  He should be the first One we talk to in the morning and the last One we say good-night to in the evening.  I personally believe that the time we spend on the "net" or on the cell phone far outweigh the time we spend in prayer before Him.  The sad part is that our friends, family or co-workers cannot solve our problems.  They can listen for certain, but they do not have the wisdom that God has.  He has planned our lives and knows the best course of action for us.  Therefore, it would seem to make sense to pray and tell Him our hurts, worries, concerns and pain.  David certainly did this in the Psalms.  He poured out his heart to God...both good and bad.  David revealed his heart to the only One who could change it.  Likewise, our Lord Jesus Christ took time out of his daily schedule to get away and pray.  His example is plain for us to see.

     I know I certainly enjoy keeping in touch with family and friends on Facebook myself.  It is great to be able to see pictures of those I do not get to see very often.  Yet, I must remember two crucial things as we all need to do:  Watch what we say that it may reflect Christ and His love and secondly, remember that God needs to be the person we talk to first.  He should not get our left over time.  If we keep our lives in balance, we will be a blessing to others and a glory to God.  Let us begin living out loud in a way that will lead others to Jesus Christ!  Selah!

Your thoughts are important to me.  Please feel free to post your insights here.  


Patricia said...

I totally agree with you, Barbara. I've been very saddened at some of the ways I've seen believers comment or respond to the comments of others online. God's word also tells us to avoid foolish arguments. If we don't agree with what we read and the discussion gets ugly, we need to either stop reading or begin a private grace-filled discussion if it is important to us. It's very possible that we are the ones who have misunderstood. Over the years, I hope I have continued to become more grace-filled and encouraging in what I put "out there" online and in my face-to-face conversations with those around me.

Petra said...

Very true and timely post. There are some very good blogs with valid and helpful content, but I will not visit often or comment because of how unedifying they allow their discussions to become. Very sad! Blessings!

Barbara Thayer said...

Pat I agree with you completely. We do need to avoid foolish controversies. Most people take the time to communicate because they are concerned for others and want to share their heart in Christian love. If we engage others with ugly language or hurtful comments, we only do damage to our witness for Christ. Better to take it private if we feel concerned over what someone has said.

Barbara Thayer said...

Petra...I have visited some blogs where this has been the case as well. When the discussion gets out of hand, the blog owner needs to curtail it. We all should be able to lift one another up and all the more as we see the day of Christ coming. No time to argue or dispute. Better that we should try to communicate with love. Thanks for stopping by! I am blessed when you do!