I have sent many texts, made many social media comments, and maybe even sent a few emails that I later realized I never should have even typed.
It is easy to vent through text or on social media when you can hide behind a screen. But just because the words do not actually leave your mouth does not mean that they do not hurt the person receiving them.
The Bible says, “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,” Ephesians 4:29, ESV.
Our words have the power to build others up or to tear them down. We tend to remember this only when speaking, but our typed words can wound just as badly as our spoken words.
Oftentimes, our typed words are worse because it can be hard to understand the tone of voice or the intention behind the words in a text.
The book of Proverbs has much to say about our words. It says that our words have the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21) and wise words can bring healing to others (Proverbs 12:18). It also says that those who guard their lips and carefully choose their words avoid trouble and ruin (Proverbs 21:23; Proverbs 13:3).
Proverbs also points out that rash words are like sword thrusts (Proverbs 12:18) and that harsh words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1).
These verses apply to our words whether spoken or typed. And they are not just speaking of angry or mean words, but also gossip and slander. These tear others down just as much as words spoken in anger.
Before you send that text, stop and ask yourself: is this kind? Is it encouraging? Would I say this to their face?
How would I feel if this was said to me? Is this text really necessary? Is now a good time to bring this up? Is this better said in person where my intentions are clearer? Is this text honoring the Lord?
Let us pray with King David in Psalm 19, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer,” (Psalm 19:14, ESV).
May we seek to honor the Lord with our words, spoken or typed, and may we use them to give life and build others up and never to tear others down.