Sins of the Keyboard

Did I miss a heavenly memo that stated all Bible verses concerning gossiping, grumbling, and spreading rumors are null and void? Was there a new proclamation from on high giving the green light to murmuring and slanderous talk? Isn’t such blabbering still considered unChrist-like?  From my casual perusal of social media, to a few conversations and even some flat out lies spoken by followers of Jesus (or maybe better stated, people who claimed to be following Jesus), the growing frequency of “sins of the tongue” (or “sins of the keyboard”) seem to indicate that such behaviors are no longer all that sinful.  (Sarcasm alert:) Who knew?

For example, when news of a renowned pastor’s allegations of misconduct hit the news, it seemed that Christians could not stop reading and regurgitating the reports and blogs of those for and against. It was the talk of the town. Christianity Today’s Twitter feed seemed to tweet about the scandal every other day. This month it’s a renowned pastor’s reputation to devour. Next month it will be someone else. In the old days, under the guise of spirituality we couched our gossip as sharing a “prayer request,” now our gossip is posted on social media with no phony “prayer request” agenda given. It’s simply juicy morsels of murmurs to be shared, as if the biblical warnings about unwholesome talk and slander no longer apply.

Should we rightly condemn bad behavior. Yes. Should we be careful about jumping onto the latest pile of rumors and innuendoes? Double yes. Should we decide to take the plank out of our eye instead of worrying about the speck of sawdust in the someone else’s eye? I’m pretty sure Jesus would say, “Triple yes.” Maybe if we were to receive a memo from on high, it would require us to memorize Ephesians 4:29:  Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.If Paul were writing today, he might have penned, “Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths or posted on your Facebook or Twitter feed.” If that is too difficult, how about if all who claim to be followers of Jesus humbly relearn the truth in the pre-school Sunday school song:

O be careful little tongue what you say,

O be careful little tongue what you say,

For the Father up above is looking down below,

So be careful little tongue what you say

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