Jesus told us to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. (Mt. 10:16) Too often, whoever, we tend to be as venomous as vipers and as dumb as dodos. A case in point is the way we thoughtlessly pass on e-mails and things we read on the internet or hear on talk radio or TV.
That introduces the issue of gossip and slander. The apostle Paul groups these two actions with other evil characteristics of "God-haters" and those who "invent ways of doing evil." (Rom. 1:29-30) That's a crowd I'm sure we'd rather not be a part of.
James warns against the power of evil unleashed by an uncontrolled tongue. (James 3:5-9) In today's world the power of the tongue surely must include e-mail, Twitter and posts on blogs and Facebook. Uncontrolled use of them is as damaging as uncontrolled use of the tongue.
Paul reminds us that everything we do should be done for the glory of God. (I Cor. 10:31)
In light of these observations, let me suggest guidelines for us to follow before we click "send," "forward" or "post."
1. Be sure what we're about to disseminate is true.Don't assume it's true because a friend said it or sent it. They may not have checked the facts.Don't assume it's true because you read it in a favorite magazine or on a favorite website. Don't assume it's true because you heard it on talk radio or TV. The media has it's own agenda that may strictly adhere to the complete truth.Search for the factual evidence yourself from a variety of sources.2. Ask yourself if spreading this message will edify those who will receive it and enrich society as a whole. Most importantly, ask if spreading this is good for your own soul.3. Finally, ask yourself if propagating this information or message brings glory to God.
If you answer "no" to any of these questions, don't send, forward, tweet or post it. Let it lie. This could result in less clutter in our inboxes, fewer hurt feelings and lower blood pressure.
If you find that this set of observations and guidelines is true, beneficial to society and can bring glory to God --
Pass It On