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Taming the Tongue (and Typing Fingers)

By Hannah Bushyeager | August 20, 2020

When we went into lockdown in March, I became acutely aware of how important social media is to the advancement and connection of our culture during this season. The only time I would see my friends was through Zoom or Instagram. We were all locked in our houses and bored but at least we had the ability to send each other funny posts or gripe about our ennui together. However, since the death of George Floyd and the protests around the country I have seen social media take a turn. People on both sides are angry. You’re “siding with the oppressor,” or “being a liberal loon.” There is no in between. And these phrases and statements of vitriol and hate are coming from the people of God. People who ideally would be seeking to further the kingdom of God. People who should see each other with love and grace. Sadly, people in this very church, myself included. To be completely honest, I really struggle when people have differing social and political opinions than myself. I’m a law student and most of the time I think I’m the smartest person in the room. This doesn’t bode well for civil conversation with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

During our series on James, I became convicted by the topic of the tongue. “With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people made in God’s likeness.” (James 3:9) I couldn’t help but think about my typing fingers as an extension of that tongue. How many of us go to church on Sunday and then curse family members who are different from us on Facebook? How many of us sit with our opinions and find Bible verses to back them up when instead we should be listening to the Word of the Lord? So I made the conscious decision to spread light instead of reckless fire.

For the past month, I have been posting my honest thoughts about my daily Bible reading on my Instagram stories. Sometimes it’s insightful, other times it’s jumbled and I don’t think it makes much sense. But I am seeking every time to be a light, to be a connector, and to share the truth of the gospel with Instagram. And the response has been enormous. Most of my friends are non-Christians who have never opened a Bible in their life. Through simply sharing what I’m reading and talking about the goodness of God, I have been immensely humbled. God has provided me opportunities to purchase Bibles for friends who’ve never opened one, have conversations with people who are confused and angry and invite individuals to livestream church. I can’t help but think of how many more Bibles I could purchase and how many more conversations I could have had if I had stopped the vitriol long ago.

Through all of this I have seen the tremendous power of the Word of the Lord. When you allow God to tame your tongue (and your typing fingers) it transforms your community. I would encourage you all during this time to watch what you say on social media. Instead of posting that political article, why not post some Scripture. Instead of telling someone why their social stance is wrong, why don’t you take a second to talk to your camera and share what God is teaching you from His Word alone. I guarantee that you will see connectedness, hope and light. I have.

Hannah Bushyeager