A couple weeks ago I heard about the aftermath of a foolish comment someone posted on their twitter account. You’ve heard the stories no doubt. They’re frequent these days. Now, I know that only a small number of folks here even have twitter accounts let alone would make flip, caustic comments to an individual or to the world at large. But the first thing that crossed my mind when I heard this particular cringe-worthy publicized statement, was, why don’t people consider the things they said to the outside world as their very own public ministry? Why not be more thoughtful as we open our mouths or type on our ipads or update our status or send out an email?
There was a time that I considered how it was we spoke to each other and to the greater universe as etiquette. I thought that a certain form of decorum or manners dictated how I behaved or what I put in writing. But now another way to look at comments, critiques or observations is actually as a form of public ministry. I consider this daily in my role as professional minister, but in these days of “shared ministry” we each have one, really.
Everyone who chooses to speak out in any form has a kind of community platform that can make a difference in the world. After all, we never know what exactly may go viral. And we can use this voice for harm or for good. It’s our moral message.
It might be that you choose to stay off of social media and the like, but you never know when your act of common courtesy might be captured on the city’s surveillance camera, or the wee camera of a small child’s eye.
There’s a proverb that says, “don’t speak unless it will improve the silence.” It may not always be easy to tell in the moment, but there’s nothing wrong with taking one or two (moments) while trying to decide. It could be that a wise mantra like, “Stop. Think” might do better than being the first to respond.
I know I’m bound to make a mistake sometime, but if I consider what I do and say to be my form of public ministry, I feel called upon to be my best self. I will let my words serve my best interests in the hopes that you may be served well too.
In the common good,