This past week’s news revealed a story about a man who’s text cost him $53,000! Wow! We might want to pay attention to what we say, type, text, comment, or reveal to others. The article as posted by Tero Kuittinen on Apr. 10, 2014 on http://bgr.com/2014/04/10/text-message-evidence-court-law/ reads as follows:
One careless text message ended up costing a Buffalo, NY-area man $53,000, Buffalo News reported earlier this week. Louis J. Billittier Jr. dumped his fiancee with a terse text message, breaking off the engagement. Apparently trying to calm down the situation, he then sent a fateful text: “Plus you get a $50,000 parting ring. Enough for a down payment on a house.” Each of those 90 characters ended up having a price tag of roughly $600.
New York state law usually sides with men, giving them the right to demand back an engagement ring if a wedding never takes place. But the man’s text message using the term “parting ring” term seemed to clearly indicate that his former fiancee is entitled to keep the 2.97-carat diamond ring.
When the man changed his mind and started demanding return of the ring, the damage was already done.
“The text messages … have persuaded this court that it is highly probable that a valid gift was given to her after the engagement was terminated” noted State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia, the judge presiding over the civil case.
Our words should be truth. The Bible plainly teaches that our words mean something: our “yes” should be “yes” and our “no” should be “no.” (Matthew 5:37). In other words, we should mean what we say or even what we text as it were the case mentioned above. This is a difficult lesson to learn and sometimes a costly one.
Our words should be those which would edify, encourage, strengthen, and teach. This includes our words spoken or texted even our posts or comments on social media and shared posts. Too often our forms of communication are used in tearing individuals down. Paul wrote:
Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet- smelling aroma (Ephesians 4:25-5:2, NKJV).
Our words should be pleasant and influencing for good. Paul spoke of “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15) and that we are to “walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:5-6, NKJV).
Again, this includes our words spoken, texted, emailed, posts and comments made on social media sites. It is an unfortunate side effect of texting and social media that we have come to believe that just because we are not face to face with someone that we can say whatever we want with no consequences. But, that is just not the case! Some folks even take on a completely different personas behind the cloak of their phones and computers. There are however still those who do not even need to hide behind a computer and still say whatever they want to say having no concern for the feelings of those with whom they communicate.
So, whether our words are spoken, written, typed, texted, posted, or shared publicly or privately let us remember who we are and what we are.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16, NKJV).