But anonymity can create problems, too. How many times have you been the victim of anonymity?
Robo-calls trying to sell you something.
Emails trying to scam you.
Annoying at best, harmful at worst.
And how many times have you victimized someone else under the cover of anonymity?
Maybe you have and just don't realize it.
Ever been on Facebook or other social media and said something you would never say face to face to your neighbor or a family member at Thanksgiving?
There's something about typing and posting a comment that makes us forget the actual people who will read what we write. Seeing the words appear on our computer screen makes us feel good as we vent and rail against the apparent loss of common sense exhibited by "the other side," regardless of which "side" we're on.
Do we really think we'll persuade anyone to agree with us if we resort to the kind of language we would never think to use face to face?
- Obscenities tossed around by articulate, educated people, Christian or not.
- Name-calling by professing Christians.
- Words that roll off our tongues onto our keyboards without thought of how they will be received.
- Intelligent debate discarded in favor of personal attacks.
- Disagreements that no longer even attempt to be civil.
- Friends "unfriended" because we no longer tolerate hearing an opinion different from our own.
The Antidote: A Few Timely Reminders
- "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer" (Ps. 19:14).
- "In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise" (Prov. 10:19).
- "There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise is health" (Prov. 12:18).
- "He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips will have destruction" (Prov. 13:3).
- "A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger" (Prov. 15:1).
- "Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones" (Prov. 18:21).
- "Whoever guards his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from trouble" (Prov. 21:23).
- "On the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak" (Matt. 12:36).
- "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matt. 12:37).
- " But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile the man" (Matt. 15:18).
- "Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace to the listeners" (Eph. 4:29).
- "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you should answer everyone" (Col. 4:6).
- "If anyone among you seems to be religious and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is vain" (James 1:26).
What would happen if we applied these verses to our lives and to our relationships?
Let's try it and find out.
Ava Pennington is a writer, speaker and Bible teacher. She writes for nationally circulated magazines and is published in 32 anthologies, including 25 "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. She also authored Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, endorsed by Kay Arthur. Learn more at avawrites.com.
This article originally appeared at avawrites.com.