If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue
but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
– James 1:26
While Thom Yorke, Radiohead’s wily frontman, croons the line that “ambition makes you look pretty ugly,” there are many other things which can make a person appear unsavory to others. Take Christian leaders and the Twitterverse. It doesn’t take long on Twitter to see that one guy or gal who can’t go 24 hours without a tweet that calls out some person, movement, or organization for being doctrinally unsound, ministerially misdirected, etc. Indeed, theirs is a pattern of constant criticism (not to be confused with legitimate critique).
While individuals who consistently tweet critical comments may do so in the hopes others will look to them as people worth RT’ing, following, or being seen as a genuine source of insight, the truth more likely may be that those snarky comments are products of a cynical, jaded, or petty spirit. The result is a huge dichotomy between what the critical individual thinks is being said and what is actually being communicated in that it paints the person as someone with a small heart, mind, and character. That’s why I think it would be helpful if they could get on the other side of their tweets and realize what they think they’re doing is actually accomplishing the opposite and how our tweets often say more about us than about what we’re tweeting.
What you think your consistently critical tweets may say about you:
- I’m prophetic.
- I’m not a sellout.
- I’m doing it right.
What your consistently critical tweets may very well reveal about you:
- I’m jealous of other people success in ministry.
- I’m insecure about my ability to lead my own church.
- I’m bitter at not getting the results I see others have.
- I’m angry at life and want to channel that anger at something that at least irks me.
- I’m depressed but have no healthy way to deal with my depression.
- I’m a coward because it’s easy to be brave behind a keyboard.
- I’m arrogant and think I’ve figured out ministry, theology, etc.
- I’m foolish and don’t know how to keep my mouth shut. (cf., Prov. 17:28)
- I’m immature because I don’t know how to discern healthy critique from sinful criticism.
If any of these are true of you then let me recommend a path for repentance. Confess this is your issue, quit tweeting for a season, apply the grace of the gospel to uncover and deal with the sin beneath your cynical, jaded, or petty spirit, then turn your attention to improving your ministry instead of faulting everyone else’s. Consider, once again, not just what you are saying but truly why you are saying it and you may discover that there is some work to be done not primarily in others, but in you.