Sunday, June 19, 2016

Speak Responsibly


Over the past week, there’s been so much heartbreaking news—cold-blooded murder, hateful, evil mass murder, and the freak accident of a toddler being attacked by an alligator. 

Thanks to social media, we have constant updates, and repeating of the same information, brought into our homes around the clock. Scrolling through news feeds is even easier than opening the door to pick up the newspaper that was delivered to my house.

As with any convenience, there are aspects that are not always used responsibly—such as the ease of expressing our opinions.

When we hear about anything, positive or negative, we might have an opinion. When we take the time to gather information (not only what is being fed to us) and think logically, we can form educated, well-thought out opinions. Unfortunately, I saw few of these right after the recent tragedies.

What I saw instead were numerous vicious attacks—snap judgements meant to blame and shame—individual viewpoints meant to hurt others. These types of attacks are immediately posted to social media and then recirculated over and over, where they gain momentum.

Let’s face it, judgmental thoughts are not new, but we used to express them mainly in our own homes and neighborhoods. Now, it’s easy to send every thought out to anyone who will read it, and even easier to share or retweet it.

Have we always been a society that strives to hurt, criticize, and ridicule each other? Or has social media just made it so much easier to do that without having to take responsibility for what we say?

Please don’t misconstrue what I’m saying. I am all in favor of our 1st Amendment rights and I do see the value in social media.

What I am suggesting is that we speak responsibly.

What if before we put our anger and judgement out for all to see, we ask ourselves a few questions? 
1. Is this something I would say if the person was standing in front of me?
2. Is this something I want my family, friends, and co-workers to see?
3. Why do I want to post this? Will it help, hurt, or add anything to the situation?
4. If I think about it for 10 minutes first, will I still want to post it?
5. How would I feel if someone wrote this to, or about, me?
Speaking responsibly means thinking before we speak. It means taking responsibility for what we say and write, and for how we say and write it. {Click to tweet}

Social media has made expressing our opinions easy. And it’s also made expressing our opinions more dangerous, more painful, and more deadly.

We all have opinions and viewpoints, but that doesn’t mean every thought should be verbalized—especially on social media where it can’t be taken back.

I am truly thankful that the 1st Amendment gives us the right to express our views. Now, can we all just try to do that responsibly?

In Christ,
Laura 

[Photo credit: FreeImages.com]

Linking up with: #GiveMeGrace, Let Us Grow

2 comments:

  1. AMEN my friend. Just because we can, doesn't mean we should. Such a great reminder to think about whether we could hurt someone with our words.I want to be slow to speak. Blessings!

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  2. Laura, this is such a good post. I agree wholeheartedly. It's easy to just blurt out whatever we think esp. on social media, but like you reminded us, it is so important to think before we speak. Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor at #GiveMeGrace.

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!