Tornado Thumbs

Author: A. W. Smith — Host: Natty AndersonPosted on: May 14, 2024

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Tornado Thumbs
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READ: EPHESIANS 4:11-32; JAMES 3:2-10

Picture this. You’re on your favorite social media app, and you come across someone saying blatantly untrue things. You’re understandably frustrated. How could someone have this much disregard for the truth? You feel anger and fear. And just like that, it feels like a tornado has taken over your thumbs. You deposit a slew of harsh words and not-so-kind names into the comment box. You press send, and you hope you’ve shown them what’s what.

But let’s take a step back. Let’s think about tornadoes for a second. When a tornado hits a town, it can destroy all sorts of things as it sweeps through. Once the storm passes, the people who live there are left wandering around their ruined yards and houses and overturned cars. Their belongings are flung everywhere. The people are stunned, at a loss for what to do. All that damage was done in just a few minutes. But the rebuilding may take years. Thinking about tornadoes can help us reflect on how the words we say can cause a lot of hurt and damage and keep us from showing others the love of Jesus. Much like tornadoes, harsh and hasty words on social media can not only hurt us but also the people we might actually be trying to help.

As Christians, we are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). After all, Jesus came to live among us, full of both love and truth (John 1:14). Though we were all trapped in sin, showing disregard for the truth and for one another, He had compassion on us. He died and rose again to forgive us and save us from sin. Once we’ve put our trust in Jesus, His forgiveness frees us to love others and to realize that we are all sinners—both us and the people we’re tempted to tear down on social media. So, as forgiven people, we can build others up instead of tearing them down (Ephesians 4:29). Even when we do decide to comment online, it’s important to make sure the way we say something doesn’t cause more damage than if we hadn’t spoken at all. Next time you feel the tornado thumbs coming on, take a deep breath, pause, and talk to Jesus. You can trust Him to help you deal with the situation in an honest yet loving way. • A. W. Smith

• Can you think of a time you saw harsh words on social media cause harm? What were the effects? What might have been a more loving way to communicate the intended message?

• Before posting or messaging, what questions could you ask yourself that might slow you down? Who are trusted adults in your life who could help you set up good boundaries for communicating lovingly and safely online—such as parents, teachers, counselors, pastors, etc.?

Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips. Psalm 141:3 (NLT) 

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