What do Victor Cruz and Roddy White have in common (besides being wide receivers in the NFL)? They both apologized this weekend for tweeting violent messages. Both men were furious at the jury’s decision this weekend to acquit George Zimmerman of his murder charges in the Trayvon Martin case. Cruz and White were caught in the emotion of the moment after hearing the news they did not want to hear. Both lashed out on Twitter, sending out tweets that recommended violence even to the point of death. Both men have rethought their emotional outbursts and deleted their posts along with making apologies for the words that were used.
I am not writing this post to take any side in the Martin/Zimmerman case, rather I am writing this because I too have been known to post my thoughts in the heat of the moment. I have been one who has hurt feelings, been unfriended (yes, this is now a word in my vocabulary), been blocked and ridiculed. I have been one who did not think before I posted to social media. I look back now at these times and what seemed so important then now seems so trivial. The tweets/statuses that I am talking about typically were about politics or matters of opinion. I have had to apologize and delete items that I have posted.
We have all heard the saying “bite your tongue,” indicating the need to hold back the emotional words that are spewing out of the mouth of one who is angry, sad, etc. Proverbs 21:23 says: “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.” If followed, these inspired words will help us steer away from much disaster.
However the problem with social media today is that we have the ability to trash the world and our friends while we are biting our tongues! We do not have to open our mouth once to vomit all over cyber space all the negative thoughts we have toward a certain person or group. We also do not have to look at a person in the eye while screaming at them through our computer screen. Social media is a blessing, yet it can be a curse if we use it for these causes.
Seeing that biting our tongue helps us little in the cyber world, I would like to call for us to develop a new phrase, “Sit on Your Hands.” When your emotions are high, “Sit on Your Hands.” If you want to let the world know how mistreated you are, if you want to trash an old friend, if you want to debate politics, if you want to debate matters of opinion…“Sit on Your Hands.” Sitting on the instruments that can type or text so much heartache for you and those that you love, can save you from certain embarrassment and repercussions.
Now I am not saying that there is never a time or a place to talk about such things as politics, matters of opinion, or even disciplinary action. However I have seen in my life that when I sit on my hands and think it through the words that must be said come out clearer, friendlier, and more Christ like. One wise preacher has said: “When I write an email, I never send it without sleeping on it first.” That 24-hour period of sitting on your hands and not allowing yourself to press enter can save you and those who know you a world of hurt. During that time you are giving yourself the opportunity to change your thoughts, cool down, and even change your words. My guess would be that Mr. Cruz and Mr. White are wishing they would have sat on their hands. Let’s look at the mistakes of others, and change our life for the better.