Anonymity can bring pleasant surprises.
Someone ahead of you pays your bill in the drive-thru.
Or you receive a card or gift in the mail from an anonymous friend.
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? Here are a few timely reminders:
- Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
- Proverbs 10:19 “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”
- Proverbs 12:18 “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
- Proverbs 13:3 “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”
- Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
- Proverbs 16:24 “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
- Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”
- Proverbs 21:23 “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”
- Matthew 12:36 “On the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak…”
- Matthew 12:37 “By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
- Matthew 15:18 “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart…”
- Ephesians 4:29 “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.”
- Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt…”
- James 1:26 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
What would happen if we applied these verses to our lives and to our relationships?
Let’s try it and find out!