Date: Thursday, May 22
Scripture: Ephesians 4:25-32
Verse: Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say. (Ephesians 4:29b)
Social media has made us a generation of critics, as this picture illustrates. Anyone can get on Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, amazon, or their free blog site and share their distaste for a meatball sandwich, disappointment in the finale of How I Met Your Mother, or rip apart a Christian author who expresses a view with which they do not agree. Last week, as I was researching to prepare for my sermon on the Great Flood, I came across several reviews of the Russell Crowe Noah movie by those who identified themselves as Christians, which were negative through and through. We are so good, and getting better, at finding what is wrong with our entertainment, our friends, our family, even our churches. The Bible challenges this streak in us.
Today’s text from Ephesians asks us to put aside all of the negativity and only speak what “is needed for building up the community.” We are to “Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other,” because through that we are reminded of what we have received — “in the same way God forgave you in Christ” (Ephesians 4:32). To say it slightly differently, because God has been gracious to us, we ought to model that for others by being kind, compassionate, and forgiving toward them.
Criticism is easy. This quote says it well: “I think one of the prevalent misconceptions in our culture is that criticizing is the same as participating. It’s not the same thing. I don’t think blasting religious and political posts on Facebook is taking the stand we think it is for whatever we believe in. In fact, I think it might literally be the very least we can actually do to participate in our lives” (Taylor Gahm). Maybe it is time to be more positive, even on Facebook.
Prayer: God, guide my speech so that I may be one who builds up rather than tears down. Amen.
Action: Post something positive and loving, something that builds up, on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and/or try for a second day of only being positive in your speech (or maybe this will be a second attempt at one day of it).
Respond: What overly critical reviews have you seen?
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Gahm, Taylor. “The Gift of Inadequacy” TEDx Talk — warning: this talk has some PG-13+ content