Remember to use your offline voice

Remember to use your offline voice

“Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

—James 1:19

Do you remember when we were kids in school and the teacher would tell the class to use their inside voices? It seems that mostly happened when we were coming in from playing outside or after gym class. Sometimes we wouldn’t listen, and the next time we had recess, we would have to stand against the wall for five minutes. Before I went into middle school, some of the teachers had stop lights in the front of the room to monitor the volume of the room. When the noise got too high, it would flash yellow, and heaven forbid if it ever gets to red.

I’ve been noticing a very disturbing trend of people commenting on social media posts and saying things they would never say in public. I know I can get passionate about what I believe, and I have said things online I wish I could take back. It is so easy to get caught up in the moment and let things fly. We must keep in mind that with everything we say or post, other people are watching our every move.

That is not to say we should care about what everybody thinks about us. We can’t always live up to other people’s expectations about us. People’s opinions change every time the wind blows. If we live and die based on what others think, then we will never know if we are coming or going. However, one thing people are looking for in this world is somebody to be real with them. It is so confusing when people are not who they claim to be. Not only that, but it is disheartening to watch a friend turn on us online. If someone can’t be a friend on and offline, then they are no friend at all.

I believe if someone has something to say to me, they should say it to my face. That is not to be confrontational, but I would rather work a problem out than to have it all over Facebook. For people to not work out their disagreements with each other is just so childish. Not everyone has the right to know everything about us. Trust is valuable and should be reserved for people who love and care for us. Don’t talk to people about just anything, especially if there is any chance it may end up on Facebook or X.

Make a commitment to excellence. Commit that you are not going to say anything online you would not say in front of or to the people you love. Most of us would say the world is too full of people being mean. If that is the case, then we need to only use social media to encourage and build up. It is nice to have funny jokes, pictures and heartwarming stories. Hopefully, what we post will make people smile and bring them joy.

A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t say it in church, don’t say it online. What we say can make someone’s day, and that is worth its weight in gold.

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