WORN OUT DELETE BUTTONS

   The delete button on my keyboard is just about worn out. It is not because I am bad at typing. It’s not because I make a lot of mistakes when I am writing and need to back up. No, that’s not why. It’s almost worn out because I use it a lot, a whole lot. It’s not only the button on my desktop computer that is worn out … so is the one on my phone. I think the one on my iPad is about worn out, too. They are all about worn out, but it is not because I am some highly prolific writer that is constantly pecking on the keys to the point that these tools eventually wear out on me. In my profession, I actually write a lot and almost everyday. Here’s the reason why the delete buttons on my devices are almost worn out, it is because I wind up deleting almost everything I write to post on social media.
   Allow me to paint the scenario: I have many brethren, friends, family and acquaintances on many different social media platforms. A lot of them are very opinionated and write all kinds of things about all kinds of subjects. Still, others may not write much, but they share and post memes, articles, photos and other things that are rather controversial. Some of these may seem benign at first, but often, they turn into dissension. In addition, there are a few of my friends who just love to argue and be contentious on any subject that’s posted. This is simply the freedom of expression that comes with the internet and social media. There are really no filters, gateways, or stop-gaps between the “post” button on the sender’s device and the millions upon millions of screens on devices all across the globe. While this can be an absolutely wonderful platform for expressing one’s ideas and creativity, as you can imagine (and have probably experienced yourself) it can also create real problems and produce serious consequences.
   So, here’s what happens next. I certainly have my own opinions, thoughts and “soap-boxes,” and often, the posts I see provoke me to respond because I may either know something more about the subject, or I want to contribute in some way. I always strive to write in a loving, kind, and respectful tone no matter what the subject may be. But, after I have written what I think is the perfect counter-argument, the absolute-end-all response, or the greatest mic-drop come back ever, … I stop and re-read what I just wrote. Then, I start thinking about people I know and love, who might read what I have written . Questions and scenarios develop in my mind like, “Mary might not understand what I am saying and misread this. Will this upset Roger? John may get it, but then he might take it further than I intended. Is this really necessary to say? Will it really matter in a few moments? A day? In a month from now, or more?” The words of Jesus (Matthew 5:9; 7:12; 22:39), the apostle Paul (Philippians 2:4), and James (James 3:1-18) all come to mind. There are many other things I think about … until my index finger, almost by reflex, begins slowly moving up to the delete button and erases everything I just wrote. That is why my delete buttons are almost worn out. I have had a lot to say in response. But as a preacher, a friend, and a brother, I feel that peace, love and harmony with my brethren, my friends, and family was far more important than my lowly opinion.
    Now, I am certainly not saying that we should never express our opinions on social media. If that were the case, I should have never have written this article! Exchanging ideas, thoughts, and even opinions can be healthy and promote intellectual growth. I simply wish and pray that people, especially those who call themselves Christians, would locate and use the delete button more often. I hope I can encourage you to think about others and consider what you are saying before you click that “post” button! Wouldn’t the world be a better place with more worn out delete buttons?
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:24).