Twitter and the Brother of Jesus
I have a Twitter account, but I don’t use it.
There’s a reason.
I have no doubt tweets would get me in trouble. When I’m angry I don’t always stop to think about how my comments might hurt someone else. I also have a sick sense of humor and I know something that seems funny at the time could be inappropriate upon further reflection.
It is probably unnecessary to point out how high-profile tweets have impacted our culture in recent months. There was a time when politicians, pop stars, actors and newscasters were embarrassed by unguarded moments.
Remember when Ronald Reagan said, “We start bombing in five minutes?” Ironically, he was talking about Russia.
Now we seem to be proud of our unguarded words. It is still possible to get in a lot of trouble with an errant tweet, but we are becoming desensitized.
So what does the brother of Jesus have to do with Twitter? Jesus’ brother, James, once wrote this: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” (James 1:19)
James wrote these words almost two thousand years ago, and even then he knew one of the most treacherous distances in our lives is the space between our brains and our mouths, or in the case of Twitter, our fingers. If we don’t take time to process what we are thinking, we can say or do some terrible things.
I’m not being critical if you use Twitter. It’s just that I don’t have the discipline required to make sure I don’t tweet something stupid.
There is a sense in which this distance between our brains and our mouths or hands defines every expression of civility. This is why people get in fights and later can’t explain why, or why thugs tear up their own neighborhoods to make a statement.
I believe the ability to process what we are thinking before we speak or act is a learned discipline. When we fail to discipline ourselves, we teach other around us to do the same.
Thoughtfulness produces civility. Thoughtlessness produces chaos.
People who take time to think through what they are thinking can change their homes, workplaces or communities for the better. Those who don’t can be destructive.
I just checked to be sure my Twitter account was still active. It is.
Step away from the phone…slowly…