[LIf social media were to embody a sound, it would be the high-pitched bleep commonly used to censor curse words. It is impossible to go through one’s newsfeed without finding government officials lambasted, discriminatory hate words thrown at different cultures, employers spoken ill of—and the list goes on. Nowadays, going on social media is “hearing” one loud bleep of censorship sound bite.
There was a niche experiment conducted by IKEA called “Bully A Plant” where one plant received beautiful and positive words, while another plant received hateful and negative words. After 30 days, the plant that received beautiful and positive words thrived and flourished, while the plant that received hateful and negative words drooped and wilted. This may only be a niched social experiment, but it certainly drives home a Biblical principle we can all learn from and hopefully live out—that the power of life and death is in the tongue (Proverbs 18: 21).
Please see this link for information on the experiment:
Social media is a platform where one speaks virtually; a megaphone where one’s voice is amplified. Our nation being on quarantine since March paved a way for a lot of us to pick up our megaphones and speak through them. On one side of the spectrum, we find creative and humorous memes about life on lockdown; on the other side, we find heart-warming and inspiring stories of the pandemic. Unfortunately, not all of the voices amplified by social media are suitable for all audiences. One such voice, so loud and so audible that we’ve all had the (dis)pleasure of witnessing online, is the excessive and offensive ranting about our government leaders.
By no means do we condone corruption. By no means do we abet violators. By no means do we laud incompetence. When government officials steal from the very people whom they are supposed to serve, and when they put themselves above the law, it is but JUST that they receive rightful punishment.
But our government officials are humans. They are flawed and imperfect, just like you and me. They are the authority that the Lord placed as covering over our nation; as such, whoever resists them will incur judgment (Romans 13: 2). It goes without saying that their defect is also our defect as a people, and their virtue, ours. They are due respect and honor not only because of their accomplishments, but also because of the authority the Lord gave them.
The Lord allowed them on their leadership seats, and the Lord can surely depose them, for all authority has been given to Him in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28: 28). The Lord can access their hearts; He can turn hearts wherever He will. (Proverbs 21: 2). Even Jesus lived out this picture of honor by submitting to Cesar’s authority when He paid government tax (Matthew 22: 15 – 22).
Honor is to recognize the value that God has placed on a person, and therefore, on government officials. Genuine honor is displayed when we recognize these leaders’ God-given value and treat them in light of that, not in light of their performance (or the lack thereof).
“By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” As followers of Christ, we exemplify our love for God when we obey His command (John 14: 15) to love one another (John 13: 35) and honor everyone (1 Peter 2: 17).
Proverbs 15: 4 reads, “The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit.”
My prayer, as I write this and even as you read this, is that we would all harness the power of our tongue and use our voice to decree life. May we sing a chorus of honor and blessing over our government, and may we also use our voice to oust every disease of pandemic and corruption through prayer and worship. May honor be displayed and uncensored on our newsfeeds. May songs of love and honor be heard from our islands.
At such a time of stand-still in history, I pray that out of this pandemic (this valley of dry bones, i.e. Ezekiel 37), healing and restoration will come because we used our tongues; because we used our voice to decree life.