Our voices are so important. Yours is. Mine is. The world needs our voices. Yours. Mine. Our voices and our words impact those around us. They make a difference. They have the power to give hope to someone who is struggling. They can speak truth and light where there has been confusion and darkness. Our voices can help strengthen the fearful with courage and bring healing to broken hearts. We can even make people laugh and find joy in the midst of difficult times. All of these and so much more are possibilities within the sound of our voices.
The reverse is also true. Too often our voices drain life and hope from a person who could really use some encouragement. Instead of sharing joy, we complain and contribute to darkness. Our conversations can be filled with fear, dread, and a complete lack of anything resembling faith in our good and sovereign Lord. Instead of laughter being a product of joy it becomes the sneer of sarcasm, contempt, gossip, and arrogance.
Is this the voice God wants us to share with the world? We each have our own temperament; some are bright and cheerful, some are melancholy, some are sober and serious, some have the gift of gab, some, like me, are gifted in sarcasm. But no matter what our temperament is, if we are born again the Spirit of God Himself lives in us and will live out through us. He will temper the extremes.
If we learn to walk in the Spirit He will help us:
think before we blurt out the next thought that comes to mind,
see the needs around us and respond with His heart
instead of letting our ego and personality run ramrod all over people,
gain courage if we are timid,
exchange sarcasm for a heart that laughs with joy,
listen instead of talk,
give thanks instead of complain,
speak well of people instead of criticize,
speak about the future with hope instead of dread and fear.
These principles are even more important when we engage in social media. In face to face conversation, a person can read our expressions, our tone, and our body language, and it is much easier for them to understand what we mean. When we communicate by text it is harder. When we express our voices on social media platforms it can get really ugly, especially when we communicate by means of memes and shared posts. We must be careful what we put out there, not because of political correctness, but because words are powerful, truth is very scarce in that arena, and we are speaking to a much broader audience. Better to say little and have it be the truth than to run off at the mouth (or keyboard) and contribute to the insanity.
Find your voice. We need it. But please use it well. Some of you have great opportunities to speak directly to people every day and you are comfortable doing that; please, speak well. Maybe you’re like me and speak better when you are writing; then please, write well. Whether you are speaking to one complete stranger on the street or hundreds of internet “friends” you never see, your voice has power. You are responsible for its effects. As a child of God, ask for His Spirit and wisdom to enable you to speak life and light and hope to a world that has become full of extremes, overreactions, and contempt. We need the love of Jesus. We need it in your words. Every day.
“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt,
so that you may know how you should respond to each person.”