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 might listen.
Ephesians 4:29, NIV
I recently did something that many people do–I aired an opinion on Facebook. At the time, I was highly frustrated about something and posted about it on my timeline. I didn’t mention any names, just posted what I hoped was general enough to get my opinion across without coming out and condemning anyone. My goal was to get it off my chest and maybe open up a bit of a dialog, maybe not with the one who I was most frustrated with but others who might hold the same opinion. I honestly wasn’t trying to start an argument or anything. I just wanted to get something off my chest.
In response to what I wrote, I received an email that said, among other things, that I had not only acted in a selfish manner by posting my opinion publicly like that but I also acted in an unBiblical manner by doing it. I was hurt and angry by the things this email said. In fact, angry doesn’t cut it. The unBiblical comment made me downright furious. How dare someone question my motives or my relationship with God like that? I know my relationship with God isn’t perfect and it has yet to develop to what I know God wants it to be. But I am constantly growing and changing into the person He wants. Having someone else point out my shortcomings, especially in a way that is more hurtful than helpful, doesn’t help at all.
As the hurt began to subside, I thought about what was in the email. How could sharing an opinion be unBiblical? I didn’t know and didn’t believe I had done anything wrong. Still, I was willing to admit that I might have acted in a selfish manner. So I prayed that God would show me. ”If what I did went against what You would want me to do, Lord, please show me.”
This morning, I read a blog post by Kathi Macias, one of my favorite authors where she was talking about what makes a book a Christian book (you can read her post here, if you are interested.) She used Ephesians 4:29 to illustrate her point. The verse made me think. Though I may have a right to my own opinion on any given matter, I don’t have the right to air my opinion in a way that will tear someone else down. And that is exactly what I did. My focus was on getting my frustration off my chest, not on presenting my opinion in a way that could help anyone “see the error of their ways,” so to speak. I didn’t share my thoughts in an effort to build anyone up or to provide any sort of benefit.
In that way, I did do what I was accused of. I did act in an unBiblical manner. For that, I am truly sorry.
I am not going to apologize for what I said that day. The words I posted on Facebook are true. They are what I feel, and I do not feel the need to apologize for how I feel. But I will apologize for the way I went about it. And I will make a promise to God right now…before I share anything potentially hurtful on Facebook–or anywhere else, for that matter–I will go to Him first. With His help, I trust that I can choose my words correctly, and get my point across without causing any further hurt feelings.