So last week we talked about those who make ignorant comments like: “I’m not hurting anyone but myself,” in reference to drug and alcohol use. This week I want to bring up another topic dealing with ignorant comments which leads to destruction, and this one is the worst!
This is directed towards the multitudes of people who post damaging, derogatory, hurtful, vile, vulgar, hate-filled words on posts put up on social media dealing with addicts being arrested. This applies not only to posts dealing with addicts, but this is the topic that I am passionate about.
Let me give you an example. While living in Stanley, Wi. And doing ministry there, one day a post went up about a local woman who was arrested for meth use. She had a young baby in the house. When the article was posted on social media it was followed by masses of hate-filled comments. Most of the people making the comments didn’t even personally know the girl or the situation. Then, some of the people made comments to the people making the comments, and more anger and hate-filled words ensued.
Just a few months later the woman was arrested again, and this time they did blood tests on the baby which turned up positive for meth. She was arrested again and when the news article came out it was posted on social media and this time there were hundreds of people; again, most of who didn’t know the woman personally, or the situation, but spewed death and hatred all over the post. Of course, those comments led to other hate filled comments directed at people making the comments, it was like watching a wildfire out of control.
All the while other people who are addicts see this, the woman’s family and friends saw this, and of course, the woman this was directed at saw it upon her release. And you know what kinds of comments I mean: “They should hang her.” She deserves to die.” She’s a worthless human being.” She doesn’t deserve to be a mother.” “Lock her up and throw away the key.” “Scum of society...” and on and on it goes. These were but a couple examples of nice ones not filled with vulgarities. And we see this multiple times a day!
As pathetic as it is, most people who make these kinds of comments wouldn’t have the courage to say the same thing in person to their face!
So, here is what I want to say about all this. Firstly, before you go making ignorant comments about people and situations you know nothing about, or even to those you do know about, why don’t you put a mirror in front of your own life! Each time I see a hate filled comment I think: “Hmmm, wonder what their perfect life has been like? What if the things that you have done in your life were put out there on social media??!!”
Secondly, by making those kinds of comments and judgments you obviously don’t have their best interests in mind. You don’t see the things in their lives that led up to the things they did, the life struggles which led up to their bad decisions, and in no way want to see them getting help and get out of the darkness and chaos they are trapped in. You want to keep them imprisoned in their darkness, want to make the issue even worse, or, as I see in some comments, you don’t even think they are worthy of life and verbally state that you wish death upon them. What does that say about you?
Thirdly, how do you think the people feel when they see these comments. I know if it happened to me and I was released from jail and saw the hundreds of comments I wouldn’t be thinking to myself: “Wow, this really inspires me to do something about my problem!” And we all see hundreds of young people committing suicide over this kind of cyber bullying every year.
Fourthly, these people are NOT nobody’s. They are our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and they all have equal worth in life. They are as much created in in the image of God as you are. And instead of pointing the finger at them while they are down, why don’t you use that hand to pick them up. Instead of kicking them while they are down, why don’t you use those feet to help walk them towards help and a solution?
One of the many lies of the enemy is the phrase: “Sticks and stones...” The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21 that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” People die because of things we say. Our tongues can be weapons of mass destruction, and they have launched holocausts and wars. Our words can also be the death of addicts, marriages, families, friendships, churches, careers, hopes, reputations and governments.
But people also live because of the things we say. Proverbs 15:4 tells us that the tongue can be a “tree of life.” Our words reconcile people, they make peace. They make marriages sweet, families strong and churches healthy. They can give hope to the despairing, advance understanding and spread the gospel.
What you say depends on what’s filling your heart. Jesus said, “...out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45). A critical heart produces a critical tongue. A self- righteous heart produces a judgmental tongue. A bitter heart produces a sarcastic and bitter tongue. An ungrateful heart produces a grumbling tongue.
But a loving heart produces a gracious tongue. A faithful heart produces a truthful tongue. A peaceful heart produces a reconciling tongue. A trusting heart produces an encouraging tongue.
So, the question is: What will come out of your mouth today. Death or life? Sword thrusts or healing: Proverbs 12:18 – “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”