(Jesus said) "But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person." Matthew 15:18
There is a lady in Taiwan whose name is Liu. She does some Internet writing -- a blog -- where she reviews food served at various restaurants.
Not so long ago, Liu wrote she had visited an eating place and she found its noodles were too salty.
· She also said the restaurant was unsanitary because she saw some cockroaches.
· Then she added the owner of the establishment was a "bully."
It was not the kind of review that inspires an increase in business. It was the kind of review that had the restaurant's owner, Yang, seeing red. First Yang had his restaurant inspected for cleanliness. It passed. Then, with that hurdle out of the way, Yang took Liu to court for defamation.
It was a case he won. For her exaggerated writings Liu was sentenced to 30 days in detention, two years of probation, and to pay a fine of $6,900. A Taiwanese lawyer said he hoped others who are posting restaurant reviews would be "truthful, objective, and fair."
That lawyer was offering some good advice. True, it doesn't have the ring of Luther's "and put the best construction on everything," but it does get the point across.
In this age of instant and far-reaching communication, it's easy for our electronic tongues to outrace our Christian discernment.
Has someone intentionally or accidentally offended us, we can run to the Internet to shoot back a scathing reply. Have we been insulted or outraged, it's handy to pick up the phone and let loose our anger. In the heat of the moment, it usually makes little difference if we are speaking directly to the offending individual or if we're laying our problem before anyone and everyone.
Only later do we take the time to evaluate what we have said and judge the impact of our words. Only later do we realize we never gave our opponent the opportunity to explain, respond or change.
That's not the way God's people are to be.
If we are to love others as Jesus loved us, it means we say (and write) that which is edifying for them and will bring honor and respect to the Savior who has given Himself for our forgiveness and salvation. If our words fail those tests, it might be wise for us to rethink, reconsider and rewrite.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are times when I don't do the right thing, and for those sins I am sorry. Forgive me also for the wrongful, hurtful, vengeful things I say. Help me evaluate my conversations so others may not question You because of what I have said. In the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries