Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [Watch What You Say]

Words are powerful.

Just ask a 30 year old who remembers every last word a bully expressed 20 years ago! Whether it was stated to her face (or behind her back) about her weight, face, hair, or anything of self-value doesn't matter. What matters is that a lack of judgement in words expressed have a lasting impression. Just ask anyone who has ever posted something on Facebook to see it spread like wild fire. Just ask Bo Palini who's rant on Husker fans was recorded for all to hear and the uproar because of it or Justine Sacco, who's random, thought-to-be-funny, tweets ruined her life. Whether you agree or disagree with those people is not my point. My point is that words ran rampant, for all to hear, and words cost a few people listed above their job, their public influence, and their livelihood. That is why the Bible teaches us to guard what comes out of the mouth carefully.

"When words are many, transgression is not lacking but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." 
-Proverbs 10:19

"Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered." 
- Proverbs 11:12-13

"He who guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin." 
- Proverbs 13:3

"Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him." 
- Proverbs 29:20

(And that's just the beginning!)

Like all of you I've been guilty of posting things I shouldn't on Facebook, or sharing too much here, or sending an email I wish I never would've written in the first place. Here's 10 reasons to guard your mouth and speak carefully, not just on Facebook but in all walks of life, because words are powerful. 

1. Words last forever. Even if you didn't write it down, or post it on Facebook, someone out there somewhere will remember what you said because it affected them somehow.

2. Here's the thing about social media -- once you've said it, you can't take it back. Even if you hit delete, it's still there (whether it's floating around cyberspace or stuck in someone's head).

3. You are being watched. Some companies or schools (as a couple examples) check you out and accept or deny you based on what you say. You could lose your job for opening your trap (remember Justine Sacco's story) or lose an opportunity because of that angry rant you posted a year ago about your ex boyfriend. Or not considered for a position because you cuss incessantly on all your posts. Seriously.

4. It's evidence against you. Whatever you say or post publicly can be used against you in the court of law. As a teacher who chose to crack down on bullying issues, there were two specific instances where charges were brought on an individual for nasty messages sent and a social media hate page. I asked the individual who was being affected to print them off and bring them to me, by law the principle had to contact the chief of police and an investigation ensued. Did you know that all but 9 states have laws that could allow prosecutors to bring charges against an individual for cyber-bullying (source)? (In other words what you post on social media could land you in jail.) Here's the reason bullying has become an issue: 10 years ago when someone was bullied, they went home to peace and quiet. Teens didn't have cell phones and Facebook did not exist. Written words are published in a matter of seconds and left for everyone to see, becoming a permanent reminder of what others think. Coming home no longer gives peace and quiet because logging on Facebook or receiving nasty text messages is the direction bullies tend to take. Words are becoming more powerful because of social media. Mean words are becoming easier to say because you can type it, send it, not see the reaction, and have others easily and immediately hit "like". On that note (that words are easier to publish and that they could get you busted), did you know that if you are a minor posting a picture of yourself drinking could land you a 'minor in possession' charge? Or bragging about the party you attended? Words are evidence. Don't be fooled.

5. What you say, shows your heart. If all that comes out of your mouth is trash, hateful messages, anger, ridicule... according to Jesus' teaching, your heart needs some work.

6. You are responsible for what you say and act, no matter how you feel. In other words, let your anger, frustration (and emotions in general) pass before you say anything. That will take time. Saying something in an emotional state leads to destruction and regret; trust me. 

7. With words, you can show wisdom, or proved a fool. No explanation needed here. 

8. Words are powerful. You can hurt someone with what you say, you can encourage someone with what you say, you can win someone over with what you say, you can persuade, entertain, show love, compassion... and all girls understand this truth very well...

9. The most influential people understand words are powerful and use them to persuade the crowds. Hitler is one example. He was a powerful speaker and influenced a mighty large group of people for destruction and hate. He convinced many people that Jews were dirty, ugly, uneducated and should be eliminated. When I read the book titled, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak it hit me just who powerful words are with this one simple quote:
“The young man wandered around for quite some time, thinking, planning, and figuring out exactly how to make the world his. Then one day, out of nowhere, it struck him - the perfect plan. He'd seen a mother walking with her child. At one point, she admonished the small boy, until finally, he began to cry. Within a few minutes, she spoke softly to him, after which he was soothed and even smiled.  
The young man rushed to the woman and embraced her. "Words!"  He grinned.  
But there was no reply. He was already gone. 
Yes, the Fuhrer decided that he would rule the world with words.”  
10. What you say about someone else, says a lot about you. (This one relates to #5.) Do not trust a person who spends all their time gossiping or arguing, because once you leave, most likely, the topic will be you.

I will argue that there are times you need to say something in order to help someone and it may hurt, so here's a few questions you need to ask yourself before speaking: What is your motive for saying it? Check your surroundings: will it humiliate them? Should it be said privately? Should it be said now or is it something you can think and pray on before saying it? Is what they're doing/saying hurting or affecting the people around them? If so, do or say something, but before you speak, THINK:

Sitting as a draft is a series on me and my big mouth. I'm thinking this is a good prelude into this topic I definitely need to work on daily. I will continue to make an effort to make His Words, my words, by studying His Word daily, and that starts with guarding what comes out of it. After all, our chief goal in life is to glorify God in all aspects of life, including what we say.

Don't forget to check out what Melany has to say about this hefty topic!

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