Talking (or posting on social media) does not always produce wisdom. Proverbs 10:19 says that where words are many, sin is not absent. The more we talk, the more likely we are to sin.
Are you sinning with your words?
Here are some reasons why people generally post on social media, or give advice that may or may not be helpful:
- I want to be heard. Social media makes it so easy for us to feel important. When we receive information, we have a desire to share it, simply so that we can hear the sound of our own voices. Have you ever talked and thought to yourself, “I have no idea what I’m even saying, but if I stop now, it will look awkward”? You’re the type that has a lot to say, but may not be saying much at all. You may be motivated by the desire to feel significant, which, in and of itself, is not a bad desire. However, when you seek approval from others, it not only puts an unhealthy responsibility on them, but also an unhealthy attachment in you.
- I want to put someone down. So that I do not act as a hypocrite, I will not call anyone out when I bring up this point. However, I challenge you to ask yourself: When you post on social media, when you retaliate, when you wave your finger at another person, what good comes out of putting that person down? You claim you’re trying to educate the ignorant ones in your sphere of influence, but the minute you start insulting them, they don’t want to listen to you. You will no longer be teaching them, but using them as a sounding board to express your own frustrations and sound important (see previous bullet point).
- I want to promote my business. In essence, there is nothing wrong with this. I mean, how else are you going to get the word out and make money? As a writer and a blogger, I have to somehow weave my writing into conversations so that others will know about it and read it. But I, along with my fellow artists and business owners, must consider my motivation behind promoting my products. I write to encourage those around me to find freedom in Christ, especially from anxiety and discontentment (two struggles that I have overcome through Christ). Fitness trainers can promote their services, not just to make money, but to provide others with the tools they need to live a healthy lifestyle. Business owners can promote their products, not just to meet a quota, but to improve the lives of others through what they sell. Advertising is not unwise, as long as the person comes before the product.
As I shared in my post last week, true wisdom comes from knowing Jesus Christ personally and learning the Word of God (the Bible). That being said, here are the ways you can share godly wisdom with your loved ones:
- Encourage them with Scripture. I want to stress the importance of keeping Bible verses in context. Jesus promises to reward the faithful, for example, but in light of the rest of Scripture, that reward is not monetary. There are plenty of examples of Scripture that has been used out of context, but if you do your research, you’ll be able to understand how to share Bible verses with others.
- Humbly give your testimony. Sometimes the greatest evidence of our wisdom is our own personal experience. On college essays or in debates, personal experience is considered a reasonable source. You may not be an expert on psychology, but you can share how deep breathing or self-affirmation has helped you cope with anxiety. Please keep in mind, what works for you might not work for others. All you can do is tell them what has helped you, and hope that your advice at least points them in the right direction.
- Pray. James 1:5 says that God freely gives wisdom to those who ask. Your friend who is earnestly seeking wisdom could receive guidance and counsel if you simply lifted him/her up in prayer.
- Nothing. When you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. It is better to say nothing than to say something foolish and steer them in the wrong direction. Sometimes the only support your friend needs is a listening ear, a hug, or a fun activity to get his/her mind off of the situation.
Colossians 3:14 tells us to do all things in love. No matter if you’re giving advice, receiving advice, or simply being there for a friend, do everything with the knowledge that God loves you and with the charge from God to love others.