E-Words are Easy
Technology is great, especially in regards to communication. It has made life so much easier. I can shoot a quick e-mail to a friend 3,000 miles away, and it takes a second for it to arrive. Good, yes? Perhaps, but perhaps not in every way. E-mail, instant messages, and especially the online message boards all make it much too easy for someone (usually me) to spout off a comment or a question without putting in much thought or any prayer about it. This is dangerous. There have been a number of times I have asked for advice from others in message board forums, even closed ones, and I always wish I could go back after and either remove my original post or at least word it more carefully and leave out some details. Perhaps I am just being scrupulous. Maybe the others in the group don't see it as being a big deal. However, I do. A lot of times the things I ask for advice or prayer about are private issues or they involve other people -people who should be protected at all costs. Even if nobody in these boards know the individuals I am asking advice regarding, and even if they never will, there is still a danger here.
It is just too easy to open up a window, type in a few thoughts, and BLAM, hit "send". Once it is sent, you can't get it back. It goes where it goes, to whatever recipient or recipients. It is not as though I am overtly gossipping or bad-mouthing people. Thank God, I am not. But I do wish I was more careful with who I speak to and what I say. There is something to be said for pen and paper and snail-mail.
When I look back and read some letters of Christian men of the past, letters they penned by hand and sent by means of a courier or some type of postal service, I am struck by how carefully the words are put together. The words are usually gracious, careful, precise, thought-out, prayerful. It is obvious that they did not just whip out a piece of paper, scribble down some thoughts, stuff it in an envelope, and then sent it off. They prayerfully considered the matter at hand and prayerfully wrote. This is what I need. I need to give thought and prayer to my words before I send them -waiting a day or two, if necessary, and always humbling myself before the Lord and others and seeking perspective and wisdom from the Lord.
Obviously, it is not practical to do this for every single utterance. If I am at work and someone asks me a question, even a controversial one that is work-related, I need to reply immediately even if just to say "I will get back to you." Also, not every matter warrants as much time and prayer as others. However, spiritual matters, doctrinal discussions, seeking advice, giving advice, humbly correcting another -all of these matters demand such time and prayer, I believe. I pray for true wisdom and godly discernment so that I would not be so impulsive and quick to speak using these wonderful, electronic means.