One main point that I have attempted to convey in these essays on blog-writing is the reality that writing is serious business. Like it or not, your words have the capacity to positively change thinking or cause confusion, to build a person up or tear them down, to encourage or depress, to show love or exhibit hate, to bring joy or induce sadness, as well as a host of other effects.
The Scriptures, however, are replete with exhortations for the men and women of God to exercise discretion, self-control, grace, kindness and wisdom with their speech. Moreover, like I have attempted to demonstrate previously, these kinds of exhortations have everything to do with our blogging because our blogging is nothing less than the use of words to convey thoughts and instruction. Let’s look at a few examples.
James warns those who would be teachers to reconsider their pursuit in James 3:1: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” Why would James appear to be discouraging his Christian brethren from teaching? Because James understood the power of the tongue and its potential for great destruction.
He continues, “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness…for every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed, and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:5, 7-9). A Christian, to be sure, has the ability to bring this ‘restless evil’ into submission; but we must be aware of its wicked tendency so that we will make a sincere effort to do so.
And let me say that at this point that I am not just referring to our blog entries, but also to our dialog in the comment section of our blog and in others’ blogs. We need to exercise great caution when entering into dialog with others regarding theological and spiritual issues for two reasons. One, because we are establishing ourselves and teachers and we need to make sure what we say is Biblically accurate and edifying; and two, because there is a tendency in the blogosphere, because it is ‘impersonal’ and easily accessible, to shoot off at the mouth and multiply words, which inevitably leads to sinning (Proverbs 10:19). Proverbs 12:18 should also be considered under this point: “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” as well as Proverbs 18:13, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”
The remedy to this precarious situation is found in giving serious thought to our writing and the effect it has on those who read. “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things” (Proverbs 15:28), “In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but the fool flaunts his folly” (Proverbs 13:16), “The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom and his tongue speaks justice” (Psalm 37:30). Why must we write like this? Because either our teaching can be a ‘fountain of life’ (Proverbs 13:14) that ‘brings healing,’ and edification (Ephesians 4:29) or it can be a ‘restless evil’ (James 3:9) that promotes destruction.
Practically, this might mean writing a comment and sitting on it for a day or several hours, praying and thinking about it before you post it; or writing an entry and asking someone to proof-read it for mistakes and content before you post it.
In the end, the exhortation for us is to take our writing seriously. We should give real thought to what we write and ever keep in mind that our writing has the potential for great impact, either for good or for harm. O that we, as Christian writers, would be characterized by the former.