I’d hoped to publish an original article today, knowing that people generally prefer not to read recycled posts. But I am still working on my latest piece, and I haven’t as yet figured out what to do for its graphic. I came across the following blog post, which I wrote on July 21, 2016. It doesn’t say exactly what the post I’m currently writing says, but it might be serve as a helpful introduction to that post. It’s interesting to see God’s providence in little things.
Your conduct online, particularly over a long period of time, generally exposes your true nature. I don’t doubt the possibility of hypocrites, just as people in other arenas can effectively hide ugly truths about themselves. I well remember being speechless for an entire day after learning that a pastor whom I’d deeply respected had been committing adultery even as he preached on the importance of sexual purity. So okay, some people can maintain a facade for years.
Note, however, that even this pastor eventually got caught.
Regardless of the situation, then, we can pretty much say that most people can’t keep up an act for very long, even online. Sooner or later their blogs, Tweets or Facebook posts will give readers a sense of a person’s true values, temperament or priorities.
If we claim to be Christian women while making angry posts and using unladylike language, we give our readers good reason to question the genuineness of our professions. I am ashamed to say that I’ve made reckless posts, both on my last blog and on Facebook, that exposed blatant hypocrisy in my life. Some friends who had admired me for many years lost respect for me, as well they should have. My words, rather than reflecting godly attributes, betrayed my selfish anger and pride.
Don’t worry that I’m still browbeating myself for those sinful posts. Christ has brought me to repentance and has given me the grace to change my attitudes and behavior. But I tell my story to illustrate the principle that, whether online or in face-to-face interactions, the time always comes when our words open windows to show what really lurks in our hearts.
When the Pharisees accused Jesus of demon possession, He confronted their blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Then He warned them about saying things without first thinking them through:
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” ~~Matthew 12:33-37 (ESV)
Our tongues and keyboards may initially allow us to fool people (as my hypocritical pastor fooled me), but those same tongues and keyboards, given enough time, will tell the truth. Consequently, we must constantly submit ourselves to the Lord, desiring that our hearts and minds stay saturated with His values.
I often pray Psalm 19:14, which I’ve quoted in the graphic at the top of this essay. This verse reminds me to carefully watch what I speak, type and even what I think. I want my thoughts and words to please the Lord.
This verse challenges me to honor the Lord with my thoughts and words, but it also puts the focus on Him. He strengthens me to obey Him with my thoughts and the written or spoken words that my thoughts produce. And when my thoughts and words result in sin, He redeems me because of Christ’s shed blood on the cross.
Dear sisters in Christ, be aware of what you post online. Those words speak volumes about your spiritual condition, both to Christians and to those who seek opportunity to discredit the Lord. You, once you declare yourselves to be Christians, automatically become His representatives. Please make Psalm 19:14 your prayer.