Now when we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide the whole animal. And consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell. (James 3:3-6)
It’s not just our tongues that can create a smothering fire. It’s our fingertips that click “share” in less than a second, or perhaps we spend a few seconds typing a comment. But are we truly engaging people, or are we only adding fuel to a fire that isn’t doing anyone good?
We think that if we don’t say anything, people won’t be faced with “truth.” We think we need to share our perspective on everything because we don’t want other perspectives to be the only ones represented. But if there’s a bunch of trash burning in the dumpster, tossing anything into it is only going to add to the sparks. Only a healthy dose of extinguisher will help, and we can rarely do that on our own. Even when our intentions are pure, the fury of the fire will likely gobble up what we offer.
Add to the conversation instead of adding to the fire.
There are plenty of heated conversations already burning or ready to ignite with the smallest spark. Before you click “share,” check for inflammatory or offensive words, not just from your perspective but others as well. If you truly want to make a difference, engage people, and spur change, you’re going to need to filter your words, whether they originate with you or someone else.
Refuse to add to the dumpster fires.