ODJ: messages made public

November 28, 2015 

READ: James 3:1-12 

A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And . . . the tongue is a flame of fire (vv.5-6).

Hackers broke into the servers of a major film studio and leaked large amounts of confidential information. They released films, scripts, salaries and loads of indecent emails. Mortified executives quickly apologised for their racist riffs and disparaging remarks about film stars. But the damage had been done. One celebrity, having learned she was called a “minimally talented, spoiled brat,” said she could not promote her film because she suddenly had the chicken pox. Worse, the leaked emails left the company vulnerable to blackmail. The hackers promised to release more gossipy texts unless the studio stopped the release of a controversial new film.

What would happen to our friendships and working relationships if some of our emails and texts were made public? We’re constantly communicating across a variety of platforms, and the more we type the greater the opportunity to sin. Proverbs 10:19 warns us that “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.”

When talking online, it’s important to remember that the virtual world is still real. Living people with real feelings will read what we’ve written, perhaps even the person we’re writing about. It takes only one click to forward or copy someone else on an email, so never write something you wouldn’t want the whole world to see. A negative word “can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself” (James 3:6).

—Mike Wittmer

365-day-plan: Galatians 5:13-26

Read Philippians 1:1-11 to learn how to communicate in a positive tone. 
What safeguards can you put in place to prevent you from sending emails and texts you’ll later regret? How can you honour God better with your words today?