So I know I’m the last person on earth who still isn’t on Twitter (except for my husband–family solidarity!). In the past I’ve written about the various temptations and pitfalls of social networking sites, not because I’m trying to be Amish but simply discerning. As positive an impact as these technologies have had, there are also temptations as well and we need to talk openly about them.
Today I wanna talk about another temptation presented by Twitter (and Facebook, and even this blog, for that matter). But before I do, you have to understand something about me: I have a problem opening my mouth when I should clearly keep it shut. I am a verbal processor and I tend to say whatever pops into my head at the moment. This trait has gotten me into trouble many, many, many times. It has not only led to my own embarrassment, but to the embarrassment of others as well.
In the face of this struggle I have often turned to Proverbs, which is full of advice for someone like me:
Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. (13:3)
A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. (18:6)
A fool’s mouth is his ruin,and his lips are a snare to his soul. (18:7)
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. (21:23)
…and my personal favorite…
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. (17:28)
The last proverbs has often been re-quoted the following witty way: “It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”
I have prayed these verses over myself for years. And thanks to God’s grace, I have seen some change. But I also have a long way to go. And that’s a big reason why I’m not on Twitter. With Twitter there is a temptation to immediately post to the world whatever crazy thought comes into my head. And given my track record, this power could easily be misused. Not only would I probably make myself look bad at some time or another, but the temptation to slander another person or cause is immense. Sarcasm does not always translate well.
Christians are certainly guilty of falling to that temptation, not only with Twitter but blogging as well (probably more so with blogging, in fact!). It’s easy to turn a blog into an angry soapbox. Fortunately, the blogging form forces me to stop and process my thoughts rather than post out of reflex, so it has been easier for me to resist speaking out of turn, but that accountability does not exist with Twitter. Your soapbox is ever at your fingertips.
As always, I am not writing this to condemn Twitter in and of itself. I know a lot of people who have used it in both creative and God-honoring ways. However, I also know I’m not the only one who struggles with shooting my mouth off. If you’re like me, just be careful about what you tweet. As the verses from Proverbs remind us, the more times you open your mouth the more likely you are to say something dumb. I for one don’t need one more outlet for making that mistake. Think before you tweet.